May God bless all of you who are going through the big winter storm. I pray God keeps you safe and warm, and that He gives you comfort and joy while you’re home with your families. For those weathering stormy trials, I pray God’s healing and blessings upon you. I pray these things for you, in Jesus’ name.
Everyone is buzzing about the Powerball Lottery, but I didn’t buy a ticket. I never do. The ticket in below’s photo, is one that someone left behind, on a gas station counter, several months ago. Why? They didn’t win. Only one person wins the lottery. That leaves a lot of disappointed people, a lot of losers when so many people are hoping for a chance. But people hope, and buy a ticket…”Just in case!” After all, the lottery winner will receive a lot of earthly treasures, and those mansions, pools, and cars sure do look nice!
But what if I told you the lottery winnings are trash compared to what God is storing up for His children up in Heaven? When you accept Jesus into your heart, you receive the greatest gift you could ever hope for…eternal life in Heaven! In Heaven there is beauty and joy that our small human minds cannot even imagine! In Heaven, we will also have eternal fellowship with our loved ones, who also accepted God’s free gift. Who needs the lottery, when God’s winnings are for everyone?
Earthly riches fade away. And even if they last for a while, we won’t last long enough to enjoy them. They won’t fulfill us either. That’s why many rich people remain unhappy. They are surrounded by stuff, but their hearts are empty. They are lost without Jesus.
With God, everyone gets picked! Yes! He picked you to receive His greatest prize! All you have to do is be willing to receive it. God’s son, Jesus Christ, is available to everyone. Anyone who wants forgiveness for their sins can receive salvation. Salvation is better than any jackpot, because it’s eternal! Jesus comes with love that will fill you up in a way money never will.
Did you know God is up in Heaven building mansions for His children? The mansions on earth pale in comparison. We will laugh at lottery prizes one day, as if they are dirty, old, broken toys, passed over at a yard sale. God’s gifts are perfect. Our minds cannot even conceive of the great riches God has in store for His children!
Didn’t win the lottery? There’s a silver lining! When you say yes to Jesus, you’ll have something even better! Jesus took five loaves and two fish, and he fed 5,000 people! When he performed this miracle, there were even twelve baskets of food left over! With Jesus, there is always enough to go around! It’s better than winning a share of the lottery! Did you win the lottery? Don’t go pick up your prize, until you first say yes to Jesus. You’ll need him as you navigate your way through your new life of unchartered waters.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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 new International Version).
I wrote this Psalm during the most difficult spiritual battle of my life. I’m choosing to share it with you, to let you know that during my deepest, darkest storm, there was a shiny, shimmery silver lining. It’s now brighter than over, and the storm is over! Your storm will not last forever. God wants you to lean on him through the storm. God may allow the high winds to swirl around you for a while, so you will grab His hand out of desperation. If he stops the storm for you, when you haven’t yet sought Him, you may find yourself alone in the middle of the ocean. What happens then? You will eventually float away and drown! God doesn’t want that for you. He loves you! You do not have to live with depression. It does not identify you. It is not God’s will for you to be depressed. It is God’s will for you to be healed through Jesus Christ. I ran to Jesus when I was hurting, and he saved me from depression. He can save you too!
A Psalm of Rescue. Of Angela.
Oh God, only you know the pain
as deep as your
where no light shines.
I am drowning;
only you can bring me to the
Save me from the
sharks’ sharp teeth.
Save me from the choking arms
of the octopus.
Save me from the sting of
and save me from the
from what I cannot see
down in the
Pull me up out of the salty water;
rinse my burning eyes.
Lift me up and out
You are my life preserver, Lord.
Let me grab hold of you.
Send me a wild whale
to swim beneath me
and buoy me to the
I will choke and gag and spit,
as I dodge the tidal wave,
and break through the
I will gasp with relief
as the warm, sunny air
rushes into my lungs
and fills them.
I will find myself alive!
I can breathe!
You will send me a boat,
and I will float
in the water,
as I gaze at the
puffy white clouds
in the blue, blue sky.
And when I see you,
I will rejoice!
I will leave the boat
and walk on water.
No, I will not walk.
I will run!
I will run into your
~Angela Royse Pelleman ©2012
” Psalm 69 For the director of music. To the tune of ‘Lilies.’ Of David.
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is not foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me” (Psalm 69: 1-2 New International Version).
Have you forgiven someone, only to be accused of harboring unforgiveness, because you’ve had to establish necessary boundaries for healing and protection? If you’re feeling guilty about having less contact because of an unhealthy or abusive relationship, the guilt is not from God. God does not want His children to be doormats. How can we forgive others, while keeping boundaries in place? How can we do both, while continuing to please God, as we daily walk with Christ?
We can recognize that God set boundaries and expected them to remain in place: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors” (Prov. 22:28 New International Version). We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus, himself, set boundaries: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). We can take godly steps towards forgiving others, by seeking Jesus, as we put boundaries in place:
1. Set aside time to step away from your offender. Even Jesus retreated, and stepped away from the crowds of people in order to spend time with God, and pray. If the offender lives with you, step outside to clear your head, or go visit a friend. Walk away, and give yourself some space. If you need a quiet spot to talk to God, and can’t get away, find ten minutes to pray in the bathroom or your closet. Sit in your car, and read a Psalm. Retreat. Jesus is an example.
2. Pray this simple prayer: “I forgive (name of offender) in the name of Jesus.” We can’t do it alone. That’s why Jesus died for us. He died to forgive us of our sins, and to forgive others. Through Jesus, we can forgive others, grow our relationship with him, and show others the way to salvation. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14). Jesus is forgiveness.
3. Ask God to remove your pain, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. It hurts when people sin against us, whether directly, or indirectly. Ask God to remove your pain. Then ask Him to go to the empty spot where pain once resided, and fill it with His love for you, until it’s overflowing! Jesus is a healer.
4. Ask God for wisdom in establishing healthy boundaries. God gives wisdom freely to those who ask. Wisdom will help you to discern what kind of boundary you will need to allow for healing: some contact, little contact, or no contact. You can do any of these, while still continuing to walk with Christ. Jesus is a teacher.
5. Ask God to give you strength and courage to keep the boundary. The devil will do everything possible in order to try and make you remove the boundary. He will find people to spread lies, gossip, strife, fear, and chaos. His intent is to plague you with anxiety, so that you will not change. He wants you to settle for staying in your old, familiar rut. If he can keep you ignorant of truth, you won’t go forward and learn about how Jesus can heal you and change your life. Jesus is strength.
6. Ask God to provide you with support. The devil has the goal of isolating you. He will use rejection, depression, doubt, and any other fiery darts he can throw at you, to try and convince you to remove your boundary. He knows the boundary is there for your protection, healing, and growth. He hates that God is going to heal, change, and use you to win others to Christ. God will put people in your life to replace those you’ve lost when you established the boundary. Your support will be comprised of Christians who know your heart, pray for you, and encourage you in your walk with God. They will fill in the missing gaps. Jesus is a friend.
7. Ask God to reveal truth in the hearts of those who come against you. The devil will deceive well-meaning people into believing that they are helping, when they come to you, trying to convince you to break down your boundary. They may not have knowledge about the whole truth of your situation, so they don’t understand. They may accuse you of being unforgiving, cruel, fake, or even anti-Christian. God knows your heart, and that is all that matters. However, God knows our need for love and fellowship, and He will provide everything we need. Don’t be afraid! God knows what He is doing! Jesus is truth.
8. Know that when you’re most tempted to break down your boundary, God is about to give you a big break-through! Keep your boundary. Continue to forgive others who hurt you, disrespect you, or shun you. God has a plan. The enemy wants to destroy you, but God means to use it all for good! Live your life, honoring God, knowing that the boundary is there for good reason. If it needs to come down, GOD will show you, and He will make it obvious. Be ready when God says it’s time. You will have a heart that has already forgiven, and your past pain will be behind you. Jesus is courage.
9. Read or listen to scripture, and pray. Scriptures keep us wrapped in truth. When we are struggling, God’s word lets us know that we are doing the right thing. Knowledge of the bible keeps us ready for the battles that will come our way, when we are doing something against the grain of what everyone else thinks we should be doing. God’s word is living and healing. It helps us to see others through the eyes of God. The bible helps us to see that Jesus loves everyone, even people who hurt us. The bible changes our thoughts. We can begin to develop love and understanding for our enemies, even if we don’t approve of, or accept their behavior. Jesus is comfort.
10. Pray for salvation for those who have hurt you. God says to pray for our enemies. The goal is for others, no matter how much they’ve hurt us, to gain salvation through Jesus Christ. Our prayers, and yes, even our boundaries, can help another person to receive eternal life. Jesus died for everyone. Pray that those who have hurt you will come to know Jesus. If those people are already saved, pray for their walk with The Lord. Realize that many people who profess to be Christians, are not really saved, and do not have a relationship with Jesus. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matt. 7:22-23)! Jesus is salvation.
11. Seek your own relationship with God, while the boundary is in place. During a time of separation from someone who has wronged you, allow God do His healing work in you. You will begin to see the damage in the people who hurt you, and realize they are broken just like you. This doesn’t excuse what they’ve done. It does give us insight into what Jesus did for us. Our sins put Jesus on the cross, and he died for us, even though we didn’t deserve it. It’s love beyond measure. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23). Jesus is love.
12. TRUST GOD. Understand that your boundary may allow time for the offender to draw closer to God. Recognize that the person who hurt you, is also deeply loved by God, and needs a relationship with Him. He or she may need time to dig deep down, and repent of his or her own sins. The boundary may create a void of loneliness and desperation, which only Jesus can fulfill. Your boundary may bring someone to true repentance, and draw that person towards a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, your offender can heal, receive forgiveness for sins, and receive eternal life. This allows him or her a chance to live a godly life on earth. Only then, can true reconciliation occur. Jesus is protection.
There is a silver lining…God is in Control! Though your offender may continue to try and hurt you emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually, God is your protector. His Son, Jesus, heals our pain. Recognize that people may be struggle with jealousy, anger, or fear, when you place boundaries between them and yourself. Some people lash out in frustration, when they lose access to their ability to manipulate and control you. The devil thrives on ruined relationships, but God is All Powerful! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is the one who is ultimately in control. With God as our protector, strength, and shield, we have already won every battle.
Though reconciliation is the ultimate goal, it’s not always possible. You do not have to allow an abusive person back into your life, to prove your forgiveness toward that person. This could even delay all the work God is doing in your life, and in the life of the abuser. Pray against guilt in the name of Jesus. We need godly relationships in our lives. Often, we need to step out, and let God step in and do His work. Sometimes we need to let others catch up, before we can be in a relationship with them.
It’s difficult to create a boundary, and even more difficult to keep it in place. But God’s silver lining is found in the amazing things He has planned for you during the storm. God will use your experience to make you stronger, healthier, and joyful. He will use your experience to bring glory to His name! God knows your heart. Forgive, leave your boundaries in place, pray, and continue to follow God. God will let you know when, and if, the boundary should be removed. Trust Him! He knows what He is doing! Jesus is Savior!
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps. 16:6