Thursday, September 28, 2023

Guarded Treasure


Let us be steadfast in truth and protect the precious treasure entrusted to us through the indwelling of The Holy Spirit. 

May we be vigilant in our watch, guarded against temptation and doubt in this lawless and decaying world.

For, what seems to be even the most meager compromise concerning God's Word, can lend the enemy treacherous jurisdiction to wreak havoc in our hearts.

1 Corinthians 10:12

So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.

2 Peter 3:17

Therefore, beloved, since you already know these things, be on your guard not to be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure standing.

2 Peter 1:10

Therefore brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you practice these things you will never stumble...

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ.

1 Timothy 6:20

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid irreverent chatter and the opposing arguments of so-called "knowledge,"

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on the sons of disobedience.

Proverbs 4:23

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Jesus Wept


Some of the most powerful healing can come through the most painful of circumstances. One of those extremely painful circumstances is grief but need not look further than Jesus and His word for healing.

Mary was distraught and beside herself with grief when Lazarus had passed away. But what she did was not run and yell at Jesus, not turn away from Him, not call Him names or question Him. No, she ran and fell at His feet grieving and sobbing. Humbly at His feet He met her. Jesus wept. Jesus wept the tears with her, He groaned and sobbed the same pain and from here the healing took place. He gave her the only thing that could heal her-His Comfort, His Love and His promises! “Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

And one of the most profound miracles recorded happened!

Weep at the feet of Jesus...here lays the comfort, love, healing and promise of hope that with His tears will wash away grief. "Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows. Isaih 53:4 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise." Jeremiah 17:14 "He has made all things beautiful in His time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4


#jesusheals #bible #grief #thebalmofgileadministries #helpforhurtinghearts #dailydevotional #dailybible #shereadstruth #butfirstjesus #freedominchrist #daughteroftheking #biblicalcounseling #emotionalhealing

Monday, September 25, 2023

In His Hands

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Let us invite God into all aspects of our lives, not withholding anything from His Heavenly Hands.

Let us make Him the top priority...more of Him, less of us and all else.

For, it is in this type of transparency, surrender, commitment and partnership that He can restore and refine our whole heart...fill us with the full measure of His love and anointing of The Holy Spirit...complete His authentic and abundant plan in every facet of our lives...as we are honed, sanctified and refined for His purpose.

May His will be done, His Kingdom come...and all glory, honor and praise to our Abba God Almighty forevermore!

Psalm 40:5

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.

1 Corinthians 1:8

He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:19

The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Let Your Conversations Always Be Filled With Grace



Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict. Some lash out; others become critical, defensive, and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether. None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict, adding layers of bitterness and resentments, causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.

What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see, people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized. If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance was the name of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this. It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.

God’s word says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind, commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter. Nothing gets through unless it contains grace. Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships.

There is nothing wrong with the flour. It’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.

The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships.
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“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Colossians 3:14

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Prayer for A Wounded Heart


Gracious Lord, You know me better than I know myself and I need Your healing touch on my life today. You know all about the emotional pain that I have been going through, and oh Lord, I need You to come into my heart and to bind up the brokenness within me. I feel that I have been battered and bruised emotionally and am almost gasping for breath, due to the pain that has been stabbing my heart.

Lord, You know that I have no one in whom I can confide, because no one really understands the searing wounds that have shattered inside me and the deep anguish I am going through. Oh Lord, I come to You to heal my emotions, heal my wounded heart I pray. Heal the anguish that is deep inside.

Lord, flood every corner of my being with Your soothing balm and Your healing love, and root out all the negative emotions that are bubbling inside me, like a smouldering volcano. Release into the aching void within, Your love and Your peace, Your hope and Your gracious presence, and gently carry me as a kindly Shepherd would carry a frightened, little wounded lamb. Lord, I am trusting in You, because I know that You alone can be trusted.


Amen.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Have you ever had a crushed spirit?


Disappointment. Grief. Pain. Sorrow. Strife. Broken relationships.

All of these in isolation, or all together, are enough to crush even the strongest among us. And a crushed spirit can often last much longer than any sickness. Illnesses often have cures or medicine to alleviate the pain. A crushed spirit knows no such relief. Or does it?

Psalm 34:18 says that the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. The psalmist goes on to say that while the afflictions of the righteous are many, the Lord delivers him out of them all. 

The proverb is true. We cannot bear a crushed spirit. But God can. While we would break under the sheer weight of such sorrow, God upholds us. And we are not alone. God knows our circumstance and is there to deliver us. Is it always immediate? No, but it will happen one day. While he will always be near to us in our moments of deepest suffering, he might not deliver us right away. Deliverance is coming, and while we wait for that day his promise to be near sustains us.

But there is something even more profound about this God who is near to the crushed in spirit. He knows the crushing blows intimately well. How can we know this? Because he crushed his own Son for our deliverance. The Savior, God the Son, was crushed for us. The Father was momentarily separated from him so we would always be near him. No one ever experienced a more crushed spirit than Christ on that day on the cross, all so we would never face such wrath and condemnation. Our ultimate deliverance from pain and sorrow is sure because the cross is sure. Psalm 34:18 is true because the cross is true. 

A crushed spirit is impossible to bear, this is true. But by God's grace and kindness we do not have to bear such crushing blows alone. We have a God who not only promises his presence in every pain, but also knows our pain most intimately. A crushed spirit only God can bear, and he daily bears us up.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Godly Sorrow vs Wordly Sorrow

 


Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they may genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment, but nothing changes.

The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between feeling sorry for what we do and repentance, regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.

Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to hardened and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly softens the heart and brings forth life.

If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling. We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others.  That’s where true change begins.


Monday, September 11, 2023

You Can’t But He Can

When we continually fail in an area, when we continually try to do things in our own strength, and when we feel like we just can't go on another day, we need to remind ourselves of the Truth. That yes, maybe WE can't, but Jesus, HE most certainly can. And with Him IN us, every day, how can we not rise above whatever it is we are trying to conquer in our lives, and KNOW that with Him, we will eventually have victory and arrive?!

Guys, we have to quit forgetting that at our weakest point, we are at our strongest in Him. That when we have tried to accomplish something over and over again on our own, and not succeeded, is the very moment we need to look up, invite Jesus in, and then try again, WITH Him.


There are so many things that we will be told we can't do by people, ourselves, and by the enemy, and often times, they might be right. We sometimes can't on our own, but with Him, ohh with Him, we CAN. And that, that is all we need to change the game. To quit believing the lies that we can't change, rise above, or ever overcome. And to have victory after victory in our relationships, our struggles, at work, and then some!

His power is made perfect in our weakness, and if you have been weak lately, in any area, realize just how much strength you are about to invite in when you hand it all over to Him! He is ready to help you. Ready to come to your aid. But it takes YOU asking Him in first. It takes YOU, calling His name. And it takes YOU, finally saying, "Lord, I cannot do this. But, You, You can. And so I give you my weakness. I ask for your strength, and with all that I am, I invite You in. And with you at my side, I am ready, Lord. I ready to try this again.”

@sarah.jean.armstrong

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Author of Peace

God brings order out of chaos, even the chaos we create ourselves.

If there is conflict and confusion in your life today and you lack peace, chances are you are looking at the relationship, situation, or problem through the eyes of the world. Doing so brings about impatience, disorder, and anxiety, which can cause us to lash out unlovingly at others.

But when you shift your focus through God’s lens, His peace begins to reign in your heart. God is able to help you respond to others in love, patience, and forgiveness thus, maintaining peace with those around you. It’s your choice – you can live in confusion or chaos, or you can live a life marked by peace.

Proverbs 16:7 

When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Isaiah 26:3 

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

John 14:27 

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Thursday, September 7, 2023

Nothing Wounds the Heart Like Rejection

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The dictionary defines rejection as “an act of throwing away or discarding someone or something,” which implies a lack of value in the person or thing being thrown away. Being rejected then can make us feel valueless and worthless.

Since every human being has three fundamental needs ….to be loved, valued and accepted, rejection results in wounding in the heart so painful that people cannot deal with it.  So they suppress it in their mind, stuff the pain away inside, pretend it’s not there and live in denial of their suffering, but later it surfaces in various negative behaviors causing deeper pain, problems, and conflict much like a layering effect. 

Rejection can be rooted in our family of origin, peers, those in authority (teachers, pastors, etc.), resulting from verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, troubles in the home, adoption, divorce, abandonment, infidelity, and peer rejection.

Sadly rejection can breed more rejection if the roots are not dealt with.  People with rejection issues often feel victimized and place themselves in situations where they are always the victim, whether real or imagined and it sets a pattern that becomes a way of life,  Others turn to exhausting ways to feel accepted – people pleasing,  perfectionism, workaholic, etc. Others refuse to deal with it all together and check out through, drugs, alcohol, anger, immorality, and other negative behaviors.  Unless the root is dealt with, the truth is accepted and replaced --the by-product or rejection will always be rejection.

Despite the rejection of the past, our God can heal you. He can walk into the darkness of the pain and shed His marvelous light on the path of your healing journey. The one who created you and numbers the hairs on your head will never reject you. He wants to heal those painful roots of rejection so that you can live in His acceptance.

“I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do: I will not forsake them. “

(Isaiah 42:16)

“For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”

‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭94‬:‭14‬)

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Bitterness Doesn’t Give Others A Chance To Repent


Sometimes we hold on to hurt without communicating the nature of hurts to others.

They often aren’t even aware they have offended us. When we stuff our feelings eventually, the stuffing is going to come out.

That’s because when you fill anything with pressure, it will explode. In the same way, the outburst in our hearts can result in broken marriages and relationships, especially our relationship with God.

Some are shocked to find out that we have been keeping score of their wrongdoings against us.

Give people a chance to state their case and learn to forgive. Don’t stuff your feelings. Express them, forgive and release others to Jesus – the One, who displayed to us with His precious blood how mercy triumphs over judgment.


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Healing Relationship Breakdowns


God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain.

Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others.

We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross. We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

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


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Nothing Hurts Or Heals Lime The Truth

 


Nothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better.

The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ's love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us. However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth.

The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God's love and grace if we are willing to be His child.

This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us. After we are washed clean by Christ's love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Storms of Sorrow



How true is the saying, “All sunshine makes a desert?” God knows that if you never experience the storm of life – if the rain clouds never release their water – you will never see flower gardens grow.

You need to blossom in the areas of sympathy, empathy, and compassion, understanding, perspective, and wisdom.

Our God is the God of second chances. Whatever is in the past can be used for God’s glory.

The storms of sorrow should never be wasted. By God’s design, grief will better your heart and life.

 Grief will make your tree of life grow and blossom so that you will be able to offer the shade of comfort and hope to others who are going through the desert journey of grief.

“God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. “ 2 Corinthians 1:4


Friday, August 25, 2023

Meekness of Mind

Blessed are those who practice self control, are slow to anger, and forebear with others in love.

Blessed are those who live in quiet submission and service to The Lord, and walk out their faith with contentment.

Blessed are those who understand the source of their strength, take the yoke of The Lord...and surrender their battles to Almighty God.

Blessed are those who show restraint in the face of adversity, and are not caught in the snare of fear, confusion, or chaos.

For, those who remain steadfast and true are blessed with peace in their souls, and an abundant, restful life.

Blessed are the meek, patient and long suffering...for they are joint heirs with Christ...citizens of Heaven and a new Earth.

Psalm 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Romans 12:19

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Ephesians 4:2

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Romans 8:17

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Revelation 21:1

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Peace In The Storm


A key factor in achieving peace in the midst of adversity is maintaining our eternal perspective. This strengthens our resolve as we wait patiently on The Lord. We focus on our Lifeboat, Who provides a refuge of still waters, regardless of the surrounding stormy seas.

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Eternal perspective is gained through prayer and intimate fellowship with The Father, help from The Holy Spirit, saturation in the scripture, and by consciously removing our gaze from the worldly temptations Satan surrounds us with.
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Eternal perspective lends a Godly view...the REAL big picture...and assists us in overcoming temptations and weathering storms, while maintaining perfect peace of mind.
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When we look through the Christ lens, we experience love and grace, and we extend the same to others. We have everlasting peace, because we understand we were carefully crafted with purpose; that God intends for us to live an abundant, fruitful life, not one constantly tainted with misery, regret and uncertainty. As our faith is strengthened in the presence of our Savior, we glean more of Who our God really is and we gain a more personalized understanding of His design for us.
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Our eternal perspective is founded in God's truth and is steeped in His cherished promises. We are enabled to make each day count for our King, because we have our eyes on the prize. So, at the end of an enormously tough day or season, we know with all that we are, it is virtually non-existent when compared to the reward of an eternity with Jesus.
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Colossians 3:2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
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Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
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John 16:33
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!
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John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.
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John 14:2
In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Healing When They’re Not Sorry


I think one of the hardest parts of healing is acknowledging how bad it hurt in the first place. And that, the pain is still there. So often we are taught that in order to heal from things, we need to just let it be, move on, and that time heals everything, and sometimes, it can and it does. But when there is severe heartbreak, severe pain or trauma in someone's life, it usually won't just go away, but will lay dormant, until one day it resurfaces, affecting so many areas of our lives and relationships. We NEED to feel to heal. We NEED to let the pain out of our hearts, with or without an apology, so we can allow forgiveness and the stregnth of God to come in and restore those wounded parts of our hearts.

We were never meant to carry the pain, and many of us have become so numb to it that we don’t even realize how heavy the weight has gotten and that we still are. We were never meant to carry the wounds that someone ELSE'S pain caused when THEY hurt us. We were never meant to carry the guilt, shame, or past of what others have done to us. We have to remember that most often, people’s pain in their own lives is what caused them to act out. THEIR pain, sin, and wounds, is what caused THEM to carry their hurts out, and be thrown on us, and apology or not, we don't have to live under the weight and hurt of what they did any longer. We get to CHOOSE to take the steps to heal, move on, and allow the love of God to heal us and make us stronger! I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but you might never get the sorry from them you feel your soul needs. You might not ever hear the words you have been praying to hear so desperately, but friend, you can trust that your God will one day deal with them justly. You can trust your God sees YOUR strength to let go and forgive today, and HE will reward YOU greatly, and continue to love you until your heart is healed completely.

You were called by God to live FREE, friend, and I pray you truly believe and receive that today, and you allow your heart to begin to truly heal so you can. Even from the things that they never apologized for. ❤️


@sarah.jean.armstrong

Monday, August 21, 2023

First Seek the Counsel of The Lord



There are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches for 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 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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Friday, August 18, 2023

Prayer When You’re Anxious

 


Father God,

My anxiety often causes spiraling thoughts and sleepiness nights.

Help me to remember that there is only one true comfort and that is YOU.

Help me to remember that you are always with me.

Help me to remember that you will never leave me or forsake me.

Help me to remember that when I realize that my anxiety and fear are covered by YOU…what else is there for me to fear?

Help me to replace those things which make my anxiety worse with thoughts that correct my thinking and eliminate worry, anxiety, and fear so that I can confidently declare as it says in Psalm 51:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Don’t Put Your Identity In Anything That Can be Taken From You


Friends, I cannot tell you how many people (Christians and non-Christians) I have talked to who have spent so much of their life, making it about that one thing. That ONE thing is what drove them. That ONE thing is something they would refuse to give up. That ONE thing they lived for, every day. Until one day, it was taken, and it changed everything. Or until one day, they felt God asking them to give it up, because it had become between Him and them, and to do it took EVERYTHING.

Being all about what we love and are good at isn’t bad. In fact, the very gifts that make us great at these things our FROM God, and He wants us to use them! But for HIM. We have to be very careful when our love for the gifts start to drown out the Giver Himself. Or the life or the lifestyle we are living is something we put our identity in more than Christ Himself.

Do you recognize, that without Jesus, you wouldn't be who you are? That those gifts you have, are from Him? That what makes you "you", is not you at all, but HIM? What is your identity in? Yourself and what YOU do? Or Jesus, and what HE has done for you? Because friends, after talking to the people I mentioned earlier who had it reversed, they now realize that their identity started to become more about what they DID. And they can look back now and recognize where priorities in their life started to shift.

We are not our jobs, the lifestyle we choose to live out, or the roles we have. No, if you are a follower of Jesus, your identity is in HIM, and your purpose is HIM! An heir to His Kingdom. THAT is who you are! That, is why you are here, dear friend! And THAT cannot ever be taken away from you. Everything else can, and when it does, it will feel like you lost “you” when it happens if your identity is in it. You will feel like your purpose was stripped right out of your hands as a result of it.

So, let this be a reminder to us all. That our identity and purpose in this life isn't about us, and what we can do IN it, but Jesus, what He did, and what HE wants to do through it. He gave you the gifts for a reason. You’re YOU for a reason. You have your gifts for a reason. And the reason is Him. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ’•

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Don’t Get Even…Heal


Not sure who needs to hear this, but the best way to get even with someone who's hurt you is to heal from what they did. Otherwise you'll spend the rest of your life trying to numb it, not address it, and live life with it, and end up carrying the weight of their sin as a result of it. And the worst part? They're running free, and even if we think we are managing it and "alright", deep down, it's there.  Avoiding it will only harden our hearts more, and lay dormant until there's a point in our life where it decides to come out and sees an open door. Wounds like that just won't go away. 

So, as easy as it is to want to be consumed about ways to get even, numb yourself, avoid it, or ways to just, make that person pay a tiny bit for what they've done, it's not worth it. It's exhausting taking that duty upon yourself, and being consumed by it.  It's nauseating to think about them, and always feel it in the pit of your stomach. The greatest thing you can do is invite God into the pain of what's been done, and as hard as it is, take your grasp off of the anger, hurt, and bitterness, and fully let go and leave it in His hands, asking Him to heal you of it. He promises He'll take care of it, friend. He promises that vengeance is His. So let Him. He sees, He knows, and He deeply cares about what's been done to hurt you. What that person did wasn't right. In fact, it was awfully wrong. So know that it's HIS job to deal with them, and you're job to just trust Him through it. He will use this season you're in, and birth the most beautiful fruit out of it. Even if you can't see it yet. Keep looking. When you give ashes to Him, He gives beauty back. That's a promise.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Faith


Faith is not a feeling or emotion and often defies all human logic or reasoning. But, through faith, we gain understanding and Everlasting Truth.

Faith is choosing to take God at His Word....though unseen, the evidence of God and what He accomplishes through His command is all around us.

When we chose to take Him at His Word, we need to get into The Word...bring God into the situation, and align our emotions with His Truth.

Having faith in Him and trusting His Truth brings an unchanging, unwavering, unlimited resource and reality into our circumstances.

When we choose to walk in faith and are obedient to The Will of God, we have created a partnership with an unmatched Leader and LORD over all, who loves us and longs for our good...who created us in His image...desires to transform us and bring us from faith to faith...from glory to glory.

Let us walk in obedient faith and be blessed by His reward for our devotion...for our Father is faithful...and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

John 11:40

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Hebrews 11:8

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

1 Peter 1:25

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Psalm 33:4

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:24

The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.


Friday, August 11, 2023

Barrier To Forgiving Others:


A huge barrier to forgiving others is the misconception about, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Many people believe that by forgiving they will continue to live as doormats allowing sinful behavior when nothing has changed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forgiveness focuses on the offense. It only involves one person and has nothing to do with what the other person chooses to do. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship. It requires two people engaged in the process.

Forgiveness is the choice to release the offender. Reconciliation is the choice to rejoin the offender. It’s being brought back into a relationship where there has been a wall of separation erected. Restoration is the process that makes that possible. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It requires confession, repentance, and a strong commitment on both sides to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. And it often takes a much longer time.

For example, if a loved is engaged in drugs, alcohol, abuse or some other harmful behavior they may ask us to forgive them. Of course, God’s heart is always that we forgive but if they ask that we go back to the way it was the answer is a resounding NO! That’s not what we do at all. Love holds people accountable. Love protects. We do not have to allow harmful behavior that hurt us and our families. Thus, there may be extremely toxic, unhealthy people who may need to be removed from our lives.

An example of this would be a relative who sexually molested us as a child. We can forgive them as God has called us to but having a relationship with them may endanger ourselves and others. So forgiveness does not mean we have to have any kind of relationship with the offender ever again. Forgiveness is a choice. It's a willful act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Anecdote for Anxiety


Father God,

My anxiety often causes spiraling thoughts and sleepiness nights.

Help me to remember that there is only one true comfort and that is YOU.

Help me to remember that you are always with me.

Help me to remember that you will never leave me or forsake me.

Help me to remember that when I realize that my anxiety and fear are covered by YOU…what else is there for me to fear?

Help me to replace those things which make my anxiety worse with thoughts that correct my thinking and eliminate worry, anxiety, and fear so that I can confidently declare as it says in Psalm 51:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Think On These Things



It can be challenging in our humanity to rid ourselves of the clutter in our thoughts. Complex situations and struggles can evoke powerful emotions within us that can be difficult to cope with. 

To achieve His promised peace, it takes an active, conscious effort to partner with God in the valleys - to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ - to think, practice and dwell on truth, and that which is holy and pleasing unto Him...

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

Friday, August 4, 2023

Let Go of All That Isn’t

 


Isn't it crazy how we can go through such heartache, such affliction, such turmoil at one point in our lives, or heck, even just days ago, and then all of a sudden, we start to forget how bad it was?  We forget crying out to God to help us, to rescue us, to do SOMETHING, and He does, only to find ourselves contemplating if it was even THAT bad? If things even needed to change?

Satan does a real good job trying to steal some of those awful memories and leave us only with the good ones, just hoping we will take the bait and run right back into who or what we were freed from. And friends, if we aren't replacing what Jesus removed from our lives, with Him, and things that are from HIM, then satan’s tactics WILL work, and we will be RIGHT back where we were before. Brokenhearted, defeated, dirty, messy, and wondering how we ended back in the place we never wanted to be again.

You know the signs. You know the danger zones. And it can happen ever so slightly if you ignore them.

But you also KNOW the truth. It wasn't good. It was actually terribly bad. And it is up to YOU, to remind YOURSELF of the bad when satan lies to you, and whispers it was good. It is up to YOU, to turn around, face him, and remind HIM of the truth, when he tries to tempt you with the lie. It’s up to you fill your heart and mind with Jesus, so those memories lose their power, and eventually, die.

Don't return to the vomit. It might have tasted great going down, and whatever or whoever it was might have hooked you back then, but trust me, now that you have been free from them, or it, I can guarantee you, it won't taste great again. It might have started good. But it ended very bad. And it will again.

Don’t forget how bad it was.

You're free now, so STAY FREE. Because trust me, going back is NOWHERE you want to be.❤️

"Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." Proverbs 26:11.

@sarah.jean.armstrong

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Trials Can Help Us See Jesus More Clearly


Oh gosh, friends. As much as we don’t like trials. As hard as someone of the things we face are, they are truly where we see Jesus, if we look for Him in them. And this is something I am really trying to get better my myself, because so often, I just want to run right through them and get to the other side, being grateful to God FROM the other side. But gosh, I am finding when I take time to pause. When I take time to embrace the unknowns, and rest in the big arms of the One who does, I can see Him so much more clearly. I more am sensitive to what He is saying. And I can feel the breathe of Him that much more closely.

Trials refine us. Trials grow us. Trials strengthen us. I think that is why I love being around older women of the Lord so much, older women who are so seasoned in their faith. Because their faith has been seasoned and tested by the Lord, and it truly shows in every way. By the way they live. Worship. Or pray, you name it. You can tell they have encountered Jesus in many trials throughout their life. You can tell that in them, they found their Jesus. And they radically transformed their relationship with Him.

So whatever your trial is today, whatever you are finding yourself. Look up. Take a breathe, a moment, to just, look around, and try to find just what God is doing in it. And then look over, and see Jesus in it. He is doing a work, my friend. In your heart, and in your life. And the finished product when He is done will be worth every second of it. He is there. πŸ’•

Monday, July 31, 2023

Resentments Hurt Us Not The One Who Hurt Us


And you’re the one it usually ends up affecting the most.

What would it look like if you just, forgave them? How much more free would you be, if you could just release whatever they have done, big or small, and finally be free of it?

Forgiving someone isn't letting them off the hook for what they did. It's simply taking them off of YOUR hook, and putting them onto God's hook. It's taking the weight of what they have done to you, and handing it over to God, so it doesn't have power over you.

God never asked you to deal with their sin, friend. He never asked you to make them pay for what they did. It could be big, or it could be something so small that you've been keeping to yourself and in your heart. Something, that maybe the other person doesn't even know quite what it is doing to you, but whatever it is, even if you don’t realize it, it’s affecting you. And you will feel and see how much the moment you let go of it. The moment you release it from your hands, and put it into God’s hands.

He asked us to forgive, as He has forgiven us. To let HIM get justice, as the great Judge HE is, over all of us.

Sometimes we won't feel like forgiving, and that’s okay, but forgivness isn't a feeling. It's a choice, one that God gave you, and me, so WE would be forgiven, and so WE could be free. Free of the endless thoughts. Free of heaviness in our hearts. And free of the injustice that we have been allowing to tear us apart.

So, what is in your heart that you know God is asking you to give to Him? Who have you been carrying on your hook, that needs to be released to His? I know it hurt you, but give it to Him, friend. And then watch the changes that will begin to happen in YOUR heart, when you know you have truly forgiven them.

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***Some issues might be harder to do on your own, and if that’s your case, I’d highly recommend finding a Christian Counselor or mentor to help you in this area. ❤️

Friday, July 28, 2023

You Can’t Change Them

Friends, we are not the Holy Spirit. And the sooner we realize that we cannot change anyone but ourselves, the sooner we will be able to usher in the power of God to do what only He can do in someone's life.

Trust me, I have been there. Just WANTING someone to see so badly. YEARNING for them to change. Doing ANYTHING to "help" them see.

It's exhausting. It's defeating, and it never works.

People are the way they are and believe the things they do for greater reasons than we can see — they didn't just wake up one day this way. At a young age, we all usually start taking in the world through our big eyes, and teaching ourselves how to behave, act, and deal with life and issues based on how we grow up and see other people handle issues around us. You can't force someone to see something that you grew up seeing or that God’s helped you to see. You cannot force someone to handle things the way you grew up handling them. And you can't expect or force someone to change, just because you think they need changing.

The biggest thing you can do is truly surrender the need to change them and do things your way. To ask God what He wants, instead of focusing on what you want, even if your intentions are nothing but good. To ask God to give you patience in your heart, as He works on their heart. And to ask God help you be okay, if they aren't ready to change and He asks you to walk away.

Sometimes people aren't ready to change, but sometimes, WE have been the vey thing preventing the change, and all God has been waiting for us it to get out of the way, and just, PRAY. And friend, THIS is the one area I have seen some of my prayers answered the most and the power of Jesus displayed the most.  And not only that, but through my prayers and seeing Jesus work, sometimes I get changed the most!

When you surrender people to God, and go to battle in prayer, you usher in the power of the King, and friend, HE can change any person, anytime, anywhere.

Prayer is your weapon like oxygen is our air, and NOTHING can compare to it. So if this was for you, use it, breathe it, and start to believe it! ❤️

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Your New Life Will Coat You Your Old One



God wants to give you an incredible life. A life, that may seem so far from where you are today. A life, that might seem near impossible on your own. He wants to give you what He died on the cross for you to have. The life He planned for you to have, all along.

But, it is going to require you, letting go, first. Letting go of that old life. Letting go of whatever is keeping you back. Letting go of it all.

Is it your own plans? Fear? Expectations? Unforgiveness? Hurt? Anger? Jealously? That addiction? That bad habit? Whatever it is, friend, He wants you to lay it down today, and then open your arms wide, and prepare to receive, newness, and ALL He wants to give you when you do.

Sometimes we carry these things around on our backs like dead animals, don't we?  We have no idea how much they are contaminating and hindering us, until we finally let them go. We have no idea how enslaved we are by this weight, until we let go, and finally see it was the very key to our prison gate.

Trust that whatever He is asking you to place in His hands today, whether it’s part of your old life, or something you are struggling with at this very moment, He will step in, and show you how. Show you why. And show you when. Trust that whatever He has ahead for you, dear friend, is far better than anything that you will leave behind. Trust that what He has ahead, is seriously going to blow your mind!

Yes, your new life will cost you your old one, but I can promise you this; He is worth it. Your life is worth it. Laying IT down will be worth it.

Yes, your life was bought with price, my friend — don't ever forget it. And all He wants to do is give you MORE in it. So open up your heart big, and your arms wide, laying down your own ways. Your old life. Your own attempts at trying. And invite the One with power in, so He can help you fly. Help you soar. So He can help you do, what He created YOU to do in this world. And generously prove to you, that your life, was SO worth dying for.

He loves you, friend. He is there for you. And He wants to show you that you can you trust Him. Yes, your life and you, indeed, were definitely worth, ALL that He ever died for. ❤️

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

I Am Not Who I Once Was

I used to drink so much that when I finally didn’t, I didn't know how to do life without it. It was the biggest distraction from the buried pain and emotions I was running from, and the very thing keeping me from getting out. The moment I stopped running from everything and allowed God to do a work in me, was the moment I realized all I was doing was numbing. Numbing my way through life. Numbing my way through emotions, not even living at all, because I certainly wasn’t feeling. What I lived in was a constant state of distraction, regardless if I realized it or not.

Drinking might not be what I turn to today, but I am so aware of how my natural tendencies are to want to distract myself from my emotions, or go to God with them. It might be food, busyness, or even throwing myself into ministry or "good things", but at the end of it, it's all the same. I am running from God instead of running TO Him and allowing Him to help me to process what I am feeling.

I don't like who I become when I self-medicate or distract myself. I end up relying on SELF in those moments, and it separates me from Jesus, until it gets too unbearable and I find my way back. When I can address what the real issues are, and bring them to Him, He then helps me lift my eyes OFF of myself, and onto Him. He gives me HIS perspective, HIS guidance, HIS way of dealing with things. HIS way of healing. And friends, THAT is what changes things. That is what changes everything.

So maybe you are like me, and you tend to distract yourself when so much is happening. Maybe your eyes have come off of your Jesus, and you have become more comfortable sitting in the sin, or the hurt, or the confusion, and you don't want to even acknowledge what is happening. But friend, I can tell you this. When you drop all the SELF ways of doing things, or the old ways of running, and trust that God has a better way of dealing, you won't have to ever feel the separation from Him in your heart. You'll begin to go to Him, from the very start.

So let that start be today, friend. Lay down the distractions, go to Him, unload it all to Him, and then listen to ALL He has been wanting to say. Let today be your day. ❤️

by Sarah Armstrong 

Monday, July 24, 2023

It All Began With A Lie


Who told you that thing you believe so deeply about yourself? What happened to you to make you believe those things about yourself? Friend, WHO told you these things? Or, WHAT happened to you to make you think these things have determined who you are?

Something happened. Someone said something to you. Someone DID something to you, and because of it, you started believing a lie about yourself, that has caused you to live a life under the pressure of the lies and who you are not, instead of the freedom of the truth and who and what God says you are.  It always begins with a lie, just like it did back in the garden when satan approached Eve. If satan can make you believe something that isn't a true, it will determine how you think, feel, and act going forward, affecting everything. Until one day, you realize what you’re believing is a lie. Until one day, you replace that lie with the truth. And the truth sets you free.

The words other people speak to us or the things that others have done to us do NOT determine how God sees us or who we are. He created each and every one of us, so uniquely. So perfectly. So beautifully. And with a plan and purpose. Everything that people might have said ABOUT you are the very things that God designed and wrote FOR you. Everything done TO you do NOT define you, but was allowed, so the light of Jesus can shine that much more THROUGH you. And everything the world has thrown at you, to make you believe so much that is just not true, are the very lies that satan is using to keep you in chains so that he can keep lying to you.

Friend, you are not what people have said, or the result of what people have done. You, are a child of God. THAT is your identity. Find the lies. replace them with the truth. And the begin to take back the power that satan has stolen from you.

Write down what you hear each day. WHO is speaking to you in your heart? Find out. And once you do, you will begin to see who you have been allowing to influence you.

There's a reason why you struggle. And it all began with a lie.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

If You’re the One Who Broke It, Be the One to Try to Fix It.

 


It doesn't mean it will always be received. It doesn't mean that the other person will agree or even believe. But when you can humble yourself, be honest with yourself, and try to mend what was broke due to you, oh goodness, my friend, will it free you. We all make mistakes. Some bad, some embarrassing, and some that even surprise ourselves. But when the fog clears, when you can see again, when you can see what happened, do what you can to correct what went wrong. Do what you can to make things right. Whether it was years ago or just days, fix what you are responsible for breaking. Speak the truth where things might have been misleading. Because if it has the power to impact someone's heart? God can use you to bring that needed healing in not just their life, but your life, too. If it's a certain situation, God can use you to bring restoration, not just in their life, but between Him and you, too.

We won't always get things right, but we can make things right. And that, that is where the power and difference is. We don't live in a world that does it enough, but when we constantly search our hearts and bring them to God, He will use us. And it's the very thing that makes us different. Him and His ever-changing love, through us. Even when we are the ones who messed up. ❤️

Sarah Armstrong



Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Identity Always Forms An Action

 


Chosen, redeemed, washed, adopted, set free, loved, forgiven, blessed, valued, and accepted. It’s who we are. The world tries to give us false and negative identities (ugly, worthless, unwanted, abandoned, etc.), but our precious Savior wants us to be firmly rooted in the truth of who we are in Him: pure, spotless, beautiful, special, wanted, loved, adopted, and much, much more.


Identity always forms an action. If we see ourselves as unworthy, our actions will follow, and vice versa. When we begin to see ourselves as Jesus sees us—precious and beloved—we start to choose to live and behave in our right identity, and nothing will bring you closer to your right identity than entering into a sweet place of utter and complete brokenness. It’s there that we can see how we have tried to cover up all the shame, dirtiness, and unworthiness, by trying to mask, look good, justify, perform, make up for, work harder, and/or earn God’s love—or, how we’ve been withdrawing altogether—and we encounter the sufficiency of the love of Christ displayed at the Cross of Calvary. I am beloved and made holy, not by any action of my own, but because of what Jesus has done for me. The moment we embrace this as our right identity, we are set free, and our roots of faith grow deep into the corners of our hearts, which will sustain, protect, and nourish us through the seasons of life.


Friday, July 7, 2023

He Shall Direct Your Path


It is easy for us to get carried away in our thinking about what we want. We tend to plunge into the waters head first before first consulting with our Lifeguard...you know, the One who walks on water.

Regardless of our desires and plans, we should bring it all to the full counsel of God; present our petitions and align our emotions with His truth. We must lean into Him for understanding and ask Him to lay on our heart what His will is for our circumstances...and for our life.

When we bring Him into our decision-making, we receive the full measure of His promises. Only our Creator can lead us on our authentic and ordained path, as He is the Architect who designed it! He delights in the innermost desires of our heart and will guide us in the way that is holy, righteous and pleasing unto Him.

Praise The Lord that His plans, ways and thoughts are not like our own! He is the eternal resource with every correct answer. He is able to produce results far beyond what we can achieve alone. Complete surrender to His way is not always the path of least resistance, but we are assured peace as we progress...and to always receive what is His best for us. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding."(Prov 3:5)


Thursday, July 6, 2023

Barrier To Forgiving Others:

 


A huge barrier to forgiving others is the misconception about, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Many people believe that by forgiving they will continue to live as doormats allowing sinful behavior when nothing has changed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forgiveness focuses on the offense. It only involves one person and has nothing to do with what the other person chooses to do. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship. It requires two people engaged in the process.

Forgiveness is the choice to release the offender. Reconciliation is the choice to rejoin the offender. It’s being brought back into a relationship where there has been a wall of separation erected. Restoration is the process that makes that possible. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It requires confession, repentance, and a strong commitment on both sides to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. And it often takes a much longer time.

For example, if a loved is engaged in drugs, alcohol, abuse or some other harmful behavior they may ask us to forgive them. Of course, God’s heart is always that we forgive but if they ask that we go back to the way it was the answer is a resounding NO! That’s not what we do at all. Love holds people accountable. Love protects. We do not have to allow harmful behavior that hurt us and our families. Thus, there may be extremely toxic, unhealthy people who may need to be removed from our lives.

An example of this would be a relative who sexually molested us as a child. We can forgive them as God has called us to but having a relationship with them may endanger ourselves and others. So forgiveness does not mean we have to have any kind of relationship with the offender ever again. Forgiveness is a choice. It's a willful act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free.