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Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. Proverbs 20:22

The toughest prisons are the prisons with no visible walls. Prisons of our souls that rob us of our freedom to love, our freedom to trust, our ability to live free of fear. In a ‘real prison’ the walls are built thick and strong by someone else for the express purpose of keeping you inside and protecting others from you.

The prison of the soul is built with your own hands. Brick by brick. Hurt by hurt. Failure by failure. Misunderstanding by misunderstanding. In your own mind, whether it’s a conscious thought or not, the prison walls of the soul are built to keep others out and to protect you from any more hurt. You’ve contracted with the master builder of walls, vengeance to make sure no one ever hurts you again.

One of the key ingredients to wall building is the desire to get even. We want to make sure that the perpetrators of our wound ‘pay for what they did’. We want to see justice served and are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that happens.

The problem is, when we try to settle the score with someone else we usually just imprison ourselves in bitterness, anger and fear. ‘If I don’t trust, you won’t fail me; If I don’t love you, you won’t hurt me again; If I don’t forgive you, you will never forget what you did to me.’

Your heavenly Father has a better way. His is the way of freedom; of hope; of love. His way offers you the healing you need from the emotional, spiritual and physical scars that weigh you down every day. His is the way of love, forgiveness and trust. Not trust in others, trust in His ability to take care of the situation in his time and in his own way.

When you forgive someone you aren’t saying what they did is okay, you are saying you trust God enough to let him take care of the situation. Think about that for a moment. Who better to deal with the enemies of your soul than the creator God of the universe? Trusting God to handle each situation in your life not only frees you from the prison of your soul, it protects you from the enemy that seeks to destroy you.

Who better to defeat your enemy than the creator God of the universe who loves you so much he was willing to give his very own son so that you could live free. It’s time to tear down the prison walls of your soul. It’s time to live in the freedom of forgiveness and trust. Not trust in mankind, but trust in an almighty God who wants desperately to free you from your hurt.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m angry today. I’m looking out at a world of hurt and fear from walls I’ve built to protect me. I sought freedom and gained incarceration. I thought pain-free living, but live in anguish and worry. I can’t tear these walls down on my own. I need your help. Empower me with your Spirit to be able to hand all this ugly stuff over to you. Help me to forgive for my sake and trust you to take care of the rest. In Jesus name, Amen.


The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

All great love stories seem to have the same general plot. You have the hero, the villain and the beautiful damsel in distress that needs to be rescued. The hero will often risk his own life in a battle to the end in order to win the love of his life. No one will stop the mighty man of valor from destroying the enemy in order to win the hand of the one he loves.

When I read Zephaniah 3:17 that’s what I think of, a love story like none other. The God of the universe loves me so much the he pursues me. He will not be denied. The villain is dastardly. It can be relational dysfunction. It can be addictions or worry or an unforgiving spirit. It can be bitterness or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Whatever it is that attacks me is no match for the power of this mighty warrior who refuses to let me fail.

In the midst of the battle I grow weary. I question whether I’m worth the fight. I see myself as weak and unattractive. I focus on my failures and my past mistakes. Sometimes I even willingly put myself in position for the enemy to attack!

He will not be thwarted. He will not allow me to fall victim to the strategy of the enemy. When I’m at my worst, the mighty warrior is at his best, staying by my side and taking great delight in me.

During those darkest nights. During those times when the battle seems too great and the enemy seems ready to claim the final victory over my soul, I hear music. I hear a beautiful love song in my ear. I listen and am surprised to hear that I am the subject of the love song! Imagine that! Even though I fail on daily basis, the God of heaven takes such great delight in me that he writes a song just for me. In the midst of the battle, that is what I want to remember. I want to hear the words of love and praise my Father in Heaven has for me. I am loved deeply. I’m worth the fight. My warrior will rescue me no matter what the enemy may say.

PRAYER: Father God, my mighty warrior. I’ve failed so many times. My past is strewn with lost battle after lost battle against the enemy. Still, you love me so much you take great delight in who I am. Such truth is too great for me to comprehend. Forgive me for those times I’ve rebelled and ignored your presence. Thank you for your forgiveness, your love and my very own love song. In Jesus name, Amen.


You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:1-2

With the popularity of the internet and various networking sites, like FaceBook and Twitter, the concept of ‘knowing someone’ has become somewhat clouded. We can ‘know’ someone from other countries who we have never met anywhere but in cyberspace.

In Psalm 139, King David makes the statement “You know me” concerning God. The knowledge God has of us is so much more intimate than we can imagine. I can choose what information I let you know about me. I can tone down the bad stuff about me and put a nice coat of frosting on the good stuff to make it even better.

I can choose to hide the things I don’t want you to know, those hidden thoughts, dreams and fantasies or those opinions of you (and others) that contradict the smile on my face. I can try to hide the pain, shame and embarrassment of how I really feel about me as well. In fact, most times, people we see as happy-go-lucky and conceited are really insecure and looking for something good to grasp onto about themselves.

God knows me. Think on that for a minute. The Creator/Sustainer of the universe, not just my world, not just the galaxy we live in, THE universe, knows me. He and He alone, sees clearly behind the mask we use to show people the person we’d like to be. The walls we build to protect ourselves and keep others at a distance do nothing to keep Him from entering in and looking around.

Every thought, every emotion, every hurt and pain, every time you’ve been emotionally or physically abused has been seen by Him and He feels your pain. He hears your unspoken prayers, sees your unseen tears and walks with you through the fearful times when everyone else thinks you are strong.

Remember one more thing. King David was not a pleasant person. He was a murderer. He slept with a married woman and got her pregnant. He ignored the time one of his sons raped one of his daughters. He lied. He cheated. Yet in all this God calls Him a man after His own heart. God saw through all David’s weaknesses and failures and loved him anyway. He does the same for you.

PRAYER: Once again I am in awe of Your love O God my Father. There is no hiding with you. You know my deepest longings and pain. You cry with me and celebrate with me. I praise you for who you are and ask that you would help me, as I go through my day, to sense Your love and presence during the dark times of my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Ever notice how it seems like evil always triumphs over good? Does it frustrate you when you hear of really good people, giving people, spiritual people who go through physical, emotional, financial or relational attack? Do you sometimes find yourself looking to heaven and asking God: “What do I have to do to get you listen to me? Do you see what’s going on down here?

If you have ever had any of these feelings then you understand a little better the emotional struggle David is writing about in Psalm 73. David was completely happy tending sheep. It was predictable with a certain amount of adventure. Sheep are stupid animals but even in their stupidity they were easier to get along with than people. He was able to enjoy the beauty and wonder of God’s creation on a daily basis. Being a shepherd was a lonely life, but it was safe.

Then along comes some prophet and changes all that. Soon he found himself anointed king and living in a palace where his boss, the current king, felt threatened and tried to kill him, even chasing him down with the army!

Most of us don’t have physical armies chasing us or evil kings (or people) trying to kill us. But we struggle daily with other enemies. Relationships, finances, health issues, job-related issues take their toll on our emotional strength.

We suffer from the bruises and scars of our past. Some of those scars cover wounds that run deep from abusive parents, siblings or ex-spouses. We ask for relief. We plead with God to do something. Yet nothing seems to help.

Others of us may face the constant battle of addictions. Drugs, alcohol, sex and lust are the ones we think of first when we talk about addictions, but what about the addictive tendencies to always react with anger, of burying our pain in food or other safe things that really don’t do our body any good. We beg. We plead. We bargain with God.

“If you will only release me from this I’ll… (Fill in the blank)” But there is no response from heaven.

David says (my paraphrase), ‘Every emotion I have right now is negative. I feel like my very insides are tied up in one big knot. I feel like a complete failure and see no hope for my future. Everything seems stacked up against me.’

But then David remembers one thing and this one thing is what empowers him to move on, to fight for what is right, to never give up. It’s the one thing we as Christ-followers can always count on. When everything else seems uncertain, the one thing we can cling to, like a rock in the midst of a rushing river is this: “God is always with me and loves me.” He knows the battle you are fighting right now. He knows how weak you feel. He refuses to give up on you! That’s grace. That’s deliverance.

Our reputations, our relationships, our health can be destroyed by evil people, but nothing can take God’s love from us. Are you facing a struggle today that seems to big for you to handle? Hang on tightly to your faith in God. Never give up fighting for the right. Never stop living for Jesus. He remains the one constant in a volatile world.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank and praise you for your love, mercy and grace. I thank you for the fact that even when I can’t see you, you see me clearly. I thank you that when others attack me, you know my heart and my motives. Empower me with Your Spirit to keep fighting the good fight. Help me rest in your loving arms in the midst of the battle. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Remember growing up and having that ‘friend’ that always made the rules about the games you played? Remember how, for some strange reason, the rules always gave them the advantage? Remember the time you tried to stand up for yourself and change the rules to be fairer and how your friend ‘wasn’t your friend anymore’?

That’s not love.

Remember the time you made a stupid mistake and offended a dear friend? Remember how he/she exploded in anger and said some really hurtful things. Now the relationship isn’t the same, in fact, you barely speak to one another?

That’s not love.

Remember that argument that you had with your spouse/significant other/ family member/boss? You know, the one where all the mistakes you ever made in the past were brought up as fuel for the fire. Things you thought were long forgiven and forgotten suddenly became missiles that pierced your heart.

That’s not love.

The hardest part about loving someone the way Christ wants us to love is that we are so vulnerable. We lay ourselves out emotionally and physically in such a way that it is easy to get hurt. True love is that Christ-like kind of love that seeks what is good for the other person in every circumstance and relationship we find ourselves in along this journey we call life.

The struggles of life and the fact that we are human is the hardest part of loving. When you offend me (for the umpteenth time!), love says it’s okay. We’ll work though this. When I offend you (for the umpteenth time!), love tells me I know I can come to you and ask forgiveness without fear of this situation coming up in a much later conversation. Love endures countless emotional and physical let downs. Love knows when to stand up for ourselves or walk away graciously when we are in danger.

Christ-like love should be like a healing salve on the emotional, spiritual and physical wounds that others have put on us. It comforts, builds up, understands and forgives. Christ-like love is supernatural because in my humanness I’m too weak to love the way I want to. It is during those tough times of life when I rely on His love to give me strength and to strengthen those around me.

PRAYER: Father when I think about all the things love really means I’m in awe that anyone can love. When I see the many ways I’ve failed to love others and the many ways human love has hurt me, I am tempted to give up on love all together. I ask that you would encourage me to see that the love Paul describes is ideal, supernatural love. It’s not just the love you expect us to have for others, it’s the love we can expect from you. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to learn how to love those around me like you do. In your name I pray, Amen.

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