Less Control & More Trust

Less Control & More Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Who or what are you trusting in: yourself, another person, an institution, or God?

I learned at a very young age to take control of every area of my life, that unfortunately was not a good thing. A 12-year-old is not mature enough to take on such a responsibility. I controlled my voice, I did not use it, I controlled how I performed in school, sports, and in anything I set my mind to do by practicing until I could do something perfectly. When I was older, I controlled my weight by taking speed and diet pills and exercising excessively. I controlled what others perceived about me by wearing a mask to hide my true feeling and identity.

Relinquishing control was not a comfortable thing for me, because I didn’t trust others not to hurt me. I became very self-sufficient and proficient in all I did. I had a huge wall around my heart that no one was going to penetrate, not even God. I grew up with a distorted view of God; He was angry and He would punish me if I was out of line, this is what I heard and saw as a child. Church was dark, they spoke in another language, it was not warm and welcoming. So, I attributed these attributes to God. I felt He was dark and harsh and unloving; nothing could be further from the truth.

I had everything under control so I thought, until my life and health started spiraling out of control, I couldn’t stuff anymore and my health was failing, my marriage was on the brink of divorce, and I didn’t know what to do. I was plagued with suicidal thoughts because I just couldn’t deal with my depression and self-loathing anymore. This was not a life it was a prison; I was just surviving I needed someone to take my pain away, someone I could trust to love and accept me for who I was. Did such a person exist?

Dear One I want you to know that there is such a person, His name is Jesus, He is the only one who will love you right where you are, He will never hurt you or force you to do something against your will. He is kind, loving, dependable, faithful, merciful, forgiving, and He is your Savior and friend. Why not relinquish control of your life to God, honestly what do you have to lose at this point?

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Blessings,

Toni

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The Deception of Selfishness

The Deception of Selfishness

Genesis 3:6, Luke 1:38, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Hebrews 12:2

Selfishness is being consumed with thoughts regarding self and not being concerned about others and what the consequences of our actions would have on another person. Sin is pleasurable for a season, but it is very destructive to us and those who love and care for us.

Where did selfishness start? It started with Adam and Eve in the Garden, in Genesis chapter 3:6 we read, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Eve’s desire to be like God knowing good and evil caused her to become self-absorbed and only thinking about what it could do for her and not what the sin would do to her relationship with God or her husband. She had no idea that her sin would plunge all of mankind into sin, despair, and death. Perhaps if she would have thought for one second prior to taking the fruit, wait God told me not to do this, He loves me and has provided everything I need. Why would I go against Him? The devil caused her to doubt God’s love. Instead she felt she was entitled, it was her right to this, and God was holding back something good from her. But the truth was He loved her so much He was protecting her, because He knew the destruction that would be done as a result of her choice. Just like with us when we had our abortions. God gave us a way to escape, but no, we had our minds made up and we were doing this! All the while His heart was breaking for us because he knew our very souls would be shattered into a million pieces and we would be devastated and, we would struggle with our choice for many years to come. God allows us to make our own choices just like He did with Eve. God wants us to choose to love Him and obey Him.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice woman, and as we were talking, she said how much she loves children and that they are a gift. And I thought, how can she love children and still be pro-choice? Then it dawned on me that she has bought into the feminist ideology. The lie feminism tells women is, this is your body and your right to have an abortion. They do not want to be accountable to God, they want to be in control. They want to decide what is right or wrong for them and they want to be like God, just like Eve did. The world tells them whatever feels good, do it, you deserve it. They have put their selfish desires for control and have made themselves into little “g” gods, having control over their own bodies and destiny. They do not see that abortion is terminating a life. Instead they see it as self-serving and self-preservation and they are courageous for doing so. And they become angry when anyone tries to take their control away. Because deep down, they know it’s a baby, but they would rather sacrifice their child’s life for their selfish desires.

There is another woman in the Bible, who had a choice to be selfish or to obey God. Her name was Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she found herself with child from the Holy Spirit as an unwed teenager, she risked her very life because she should have been stoned, which was the law; or she would have been divorced from her betrothed Joseph. But instead she was courageous and said to the Angel in Luke 1:38, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” I pray we will look to Mary as our example, a woman of courage who loved and obeyed God, especially when it was hard, or inconvenient, or difficult; she never wavered. She showed us that God’s grace is sufficient and we can be victorious, if we keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Thinking back to your own abortion, how were you selfish?
In what ways are you now trusting God and wanting to obey Him?

 

Blessings,

Toni

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Has Your Life Been Resurrected?

Has Your Life Been Resurrected?

John 1:1,14, Titus 3:5, Luke 1:28, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 27:3-4, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, and Colossians 3:1

For those of us who have suffered the trauma of abortion, can agree that every part of our being, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional, has been broken and shattered into a million pieces. We found ourselves barely able to function and as a result we chose unhealthy mechanisms to cope with our state of despair; such as alcohol, sex, drugs, shopping, unhealthy relationships or anything that could fill the black hole in our heart. There is only one person who can pick up the shattered pieces of our broken lives and fill the hole in our heart and that is Jesus the only begotten Son of God. Have you truly met the Savior, the lover of your soul? Have you been led out of the darkness and chains, into His glorious healing light?

Where were you when you found Jesus? I was 34 years old and literally on my back laying on my couch for weeks at a time, and thinking this is not living, I am barely surviving, and wanting to end this torment of a life. My depression was so severe that I was incapable of getting on with my life and daily responsibilities. I was a broken, depressed, addicted, suicidal mess. On the outside, I pretended to have a perfect life, but inside I was dying and it became exceedingly more difficult to put on my mask every day. The only thing that kept me from formulating a plan to end my life were my 2 children who were very young, at the time around 7 and 8. I could not abandon them and leave them without a mother.

My husband had been on a quest to find the truth about Jesus and he was attending several churches in our area. In my desperation, I told him I wanted to attend church with him on one such Sunday. All four of us attended a small Baptist church in Browns Mills, NJ on January 2, 1994. For the next four weeks we would attend church as a family for Sunday School, Sunday Service, and on Sunday and Wednesday night meetings. My heart and mind were being saturated with the Bible, the Living Word of God (John 1:1,14). My Spirit was slowly being regenerated or reborn (Titus 3:5). My eyes and ears were opened and I heard things I had never heard before, and I had attended church my whole life. I heard that Jesus was born of a virgin teenager, a woman blessed and chosen by God, (Luke 1:28) but no different from you or I. He lived a sinless life, (2 Corinthians 5:21) was betrayed by Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver, (Matthew 27:3-4) was tortured and crucified on a cross, died, was buried and rose again on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) He is alive and sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. (Colossians 3:1) When I realized that Jesus loved me so much that He died for me and He took upon himself my sins and He willingly died for me. I was finally broken of my self-sufficiency and pride and I humbled myself before God and I asked Him to forgive my sins and I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

The most memorable life transforming day of my life was on February 6, 1994 when I became a born-again believer in Jesus. I will never forget that evening after Church when I was of all things, smoking a cigarette in my garage; that addiction took longer to stop than my drinking which stopped immediately. It was a clear crisp beautiful February evening and looking up I saw the moon and stars and I had this overwhelming feeling inside that something happened, I felt my spirit quicken in me and I said, “I feel you in me, I am changed, thank you Jesus.” Tears streamed down my cheeks and I was filled with gratitude, love, and hope for the first time in my life, I felt completely loved.

Have you encountered Jesus?

Once you do you will never be the same.

Tell me your story, where were you when Jesus found you?

Blessings,

Toni

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Fear vs Faith

Fear vs Faith

John 16:33, John 14:27, and 2nd Timothy 1:7

When I was a little girl, I feared so much in my life, especially in my home where I should have felt safe. I can remember fear always being with me. At a very young age, while laying in my crib my older brother would come in and silently hover over my face, to frighten me. For years he tormented me in so many ways, including sexual molestation when I was an adolescent but no one came to my rescue. My parents were mostly present but unaware; they were not able to care for us individually since there were so many of us; I had 14 brothers & sisters. They were busy working, training us to do household chores, taking care of the home and keeping us afloat. My mom was not a communicator and didn’t engage in individual conversation with us. And my father was a very angry man who took his frustration out on us kids, so in fear I hid from him when he came home from work. But that was not always an option.

Over the years, I learned that if others saw my fear, they would take advantage of and sometimes prey on me. Eventually I learned to mask my fear with a false persona of self-confidence to prevent anyone from getting too close and hurting me emotionally. I worked really hard to provide for myself and created a perception that I could overcome any threat that came into my life; I was convinced, I could protect myself. This worked as long as I was able to control my environment. But that is not reality. We know there are many situations we can’t control, including our relationships with others!

Into my early teens my life spiraled out of control with promiscuity, broken relationships, drug and alcohol abuse until I came to the point that I lost what sliver of hope I had and felt an overwhelming sense of despair. Fear ruled my thoughts and no matter how hard I tried to bury it; it was always present in my heart. I continued on this destructive path, trying to bury the pain, until one day I found myself pregnant and this situation stopped me in my tracks! I feared that my lifestyle would be exposed, I was ashamed and feared what others would think of me. I was single, in my 20’s and didn’t really know the father, so I had an abortion. That is when I found myself unable to cope with my decisions, especially the one that took the life of my child. This choice brought me to a point of extreme crisis. I couldn’t move past this decision which was always in my thoughts and defined who I had become.

During the time span of my disfunction, from the age of 14, I can remember followers of Jesus telling me about Him, but I was afraid of getting involved in what I thought was the rigid religion I grew up in that had nothing to offer me except judgement. For 11 years Jesus sought me out and one day, ironically, 9 months after my abortion, He opened my eyes to see His truth and, on that day, I asked forgiveness for all my sins and invited Him to be my Lord and Savior. As I began to walk with Him and explore the bible, I read that He would care for me and that I could exchange my fear for faith in Him, and in His promises!

As a new Christian, just learning about the ways of God and who I was in Him, I continued to operate out of fear. But over time, I came to understand that fear and faith cannot co-exist. One will always negate the other. This was a life changing truth for me!

For the past two or so weeks we’ve been listening to the world and experts tell us to, “Be afraid, fear for our health, the health of our family members, the economy, losing our jobs, not having enough to sustain us, to avoid all social contact, that things are going to get much worse, that there is a silent killer among us!”

The government entities have closed down the parks, schools, restaurants, businesses and more. The stock market is plummeting and the world is reacting in panic, wondering what the future holds for them and their children. Many are selfishly hoarding goods in the event they have to be quarantined. There is uncertainty all around us. While I’m very aware of what’s happening and that we have good cause to experience this fear and concern, I want to share 2 perspectives that I hope will help us put things into perspective.

And I heard Satan Say, “I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil. I will isolate them so I can more easily attack and cause great fear, so they will lose all hope.”

Then, Jesus said: “I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table, I will help people slow down and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rest and rely upon me and not the world, their money, or possessions. I will provide for all their needs.”

What are you fearful of?

How do you respond when you cannot control your environment?

The Lord has given us His Word to show us how we can be encouraged through difficult times and not to react in fear.

We read in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; not as the world gives do, I give to you. let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

2 Tim 1:7, “For God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

 

In Christ’s love,

Luci

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