The family is widely considered as the oldest 


and most indispensable institution 


where civility is first taught.


It is the first educational institution.


It is the first social unit for developing qualities 


of the heart.



Family is the core of all humanity. 


Family is the cornerstone and one of the primary


building blocks of our society.

 


The family is the basis, the backbone, 


the foundation, the framework, the infrastructure, 


the root of civilization, our sanctuary, and the bedrock 


from which all other communities and nations stem from.


If the family does not provide the basics 


for its members... 


it delivers to the doorstep of society... 


an under-developed person.


May we protect, maintain,

 


and strengthen families.


The family is just as relevant as it ever was. 


Family is the single most important influence in a child's life. 


It is within the family that children learn the values 


that will guide them for the rest of their lives.



Our families carry our history with them. 


They are where we connect ourselves to past, present, 


and future generations.


Who better than family can reminisce with us 

about our childhood?



A connection to a strong and godly family provides 


a certain type of social support that you can't get from other people. 


There is rarely a viable alternative where we can experience 


our biggest triumphs, a sense of belonging, 


and our deepest vulnerabilities. 



The primary function of the family is to ensure 


the continuation of society.


No matter how much life changes, 


strong families will probably continue to be 


absolutely essential… in one form or another.


One of the most important 


purposes of the family 


is to impart a godly heritage. 



Family should teach its members well... 


filling our communities, cities, states, countries, and 


world with God-fearing, decent, fair, honest, 


upright, morally mature, loyal, emotionally sound, respectful, 


Spirit-filled, righteous, cooperatve, trustworthy, productive citizens... 


who will not have to recover 


from their childhood, 


but will in turn, 


teach and raise a godly heritage, 


they for theirs... and so on.



Strong families facilitate more rewarding sibling relationships. 


They give their members the strong roots to help them


withstand and rebound from disruptive life challenges. 


They equip their members to adapt to change 


and accept the things they cannot change.


Strong families encourage their members 


to have an optimistic outlook, 


and give them the moral support they need 


to make it through those tough times in life. 



The challenges in life we encounter become easier to handle 


when we have a godly family to share expressions of love, 


wisdom, and life experiences with. 



Strong families encouragesupport, comfort, assist, cry with, 


and laugh with their members. 


They help each member to feel more fulfilled and better 


about themselves and the world. 


When we have a loving family, if one falls, 


the family members, come hell or high waters, 


will be there to pull us up.


When tolerance and respect permeates family life, 


they will translate into values that can positively shape societies. 


Strong families are unified. 


They are committed to improving the well being of its members. 


They are able to work through things 


they disagree on by focusing on the solutions 


rather than... focusing on the problems or


"tearing each other down."



Strong families are the models of what a better world can be.


They provide love, the physical, emotional, 


social, economic, and spiritual needs for its members 


so that they can become productive members of our society.


Peace in society is a result of peace in the family.


Strong families are the most reliable unit in society. 


Family teaches us how to function in the world. 


It provides love and warmth to all of its members.

The effects of family, coupled with culture, 


can substantially influence one's personality.


It is through family life we learn, purposefully or inadvertently, 


the behavior, habits, beliefs, emotional responses, obligations, 


and values that will shape us as adults. 


Strong families actively listen to what the other members are saying. 


They allow members to communicate their side of the story 


clearly and honestly. They are like a laboratory for experimenting 


with our potential, beliefs, and our identity.



Strong families have open lines of communication 


where they can impart or exchange information, 


news, or ideas… and all of the family members, 


regardless of their station in life, 


feel heard and respected.


Strong families allow all family members to talk things out... 


no matter how young or old. 


They are able to talk about their needs, concerns, thoughts, and feelings... 


expressing themselves, in appropriate ways, 


and not having their honest expressions and ideas disrespected, 


disregarded, or ridiculed.


One of the best ways to strengthen our families 


is to increase our listening skills, be fully present in the moment,  


put ourselves in their shoes, and try to understand and really hear them. 



An important part of communication is not just talking, 


but listening to what others have to say. 


Until we can hear each other, 


we cannot build strong relationships.


Family should be the birthplace of passion. 


Family should encourage their members 


to set and reach goals, travel,


follow their dreams, do those things that drive 


their true passion in life, 


and take on all of the assignments 


God has for their lives.

Although family life is often been viewed as a safe haven, for some, 


family can be difficult and painful… 


always filled with conflicts and tension. 


While we often expect families to be above the chaos that exists 


in the rest of society… that outlook seems to be unrealistic 


for my family of origin.


Yes, there is enormous societal pressure to get along 


with one's family, but the reality is... 


there are toxic family members who can be toxic 


to our overall health and well being.


Some can cause enormous stress for its members. 


They try to manipulate others, they create drama, they criticize, 


push emotional buttons making members feel hurt, and drained.


Their negative traits can be emotionally and spiritually vexing.



My family, since dad passed, has been filled with conflicts. 


Although stress and disagreements in families are common, 


they can become destructive… especially when conflicts and clashes


 are pushed and pulled in many directions and they get out of hand.


Sometimes childhood dynamics can metastasize 


into toxic resentment.

Consequently, what my family is realizing is... 


toxic resentment, no support system,


no safe haven, 


sibling estrangement, 


and what some may consider as... 


'Cold war'.


A true family is not necessarily one of blood, 


but of respect and joy in each other's life.


The word "family" implies warmth, 


a place where the core feelings of the heart are nurtured.


This project is not intended to put my family on blast. 


This project is about broken pieces 


and God's power to turn those broken pieces


into masterpieces.



I believe this story has a purpose. 


I have come to realize that the afflicted 


can be most effectively used by God. 


Afflictions, as painful as they are, can benefit us greatly. 


It is important when pain comes our way 


to honor the experience, as it is usually a great teacher.


Honoring the experiences we have in our lives 


is an invaluable way to communicate with life, 


our greatest teacher.



Consciously acknowledging the events of our lives


 can deepen our relationship to our experiences. 


This is important because it brings us into closer connection with God,


life, and the moment. 


Only when we acknowledge what's happening to us 


can we truly benefit from life's teachings.


Afflictions stir us to pray and keep us dependent on God. 


As long as we can handle things in our own strength, 


we won’t see God’s power. 


It’s when the burden becomes unbearable... 


that we see God's power made perfect in our weakness.


 2 Corinthians 12:9

It has been demonstrated, across a variety of investigations, 


that writing yields a number of intellectual 


and emotional benefits to individuals.


Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.

Tragedies, sorrows, and sufferings can be blessings in disguise. 


Pain can transform us. 


The most terrible events seem to always contain hidden blessings. 



While in the classroom of our season of pain… 


these times of pain and disappointments 


can give way to God's mighty appointments. 


Through the ups and downs... one viable option that has proven 


to be therapeutic for me time and time again is writing.


 

Writing allows brainstorming, logic, and other forms of complex thought 


to perhaps open our eyes so that we might see 


that there may be a bigger picture to consider... 


than our momentary discomfort. 



Writing can keep us so engaged... we have no time to 


get caught up in any long and negative discourse.



Writing is a powerful life tool that gives us 


an outlet of expression and it helps to keep us grounded.



Writing helps us to better see, process, 


find our voice, and understand certain experiences



Writing seems to be an emotional release 


which helps to un-clutter the mind. 


Writing can also help us to steer clear of the chaos


and create more positivity.



Taking those swirling thoughts and writing them out


helps to clarify our thoughts and feelings... 


and helps us put things into perspective. 



Writing helps us release the emotions involved, de-stress, 


and focus more on God... and how, even in the worst case scenario, 


He is working all things together for the good. 



Writing allows us to explore thoughts and feelings 


of the events in our lives, become more resilient, and give language 


to those dramatic experiences that may have deeply wounded us. 



Writing empowers us to shift our viewpoint 


so that we will not find ourselves backsliding 


into a stressful pity party mode.



The mind, according to some, is for processing... not for storage.


Writing helps us clear the clutter from the mind 


so that we are able to see all sides, objectively.



It is my wish, others may be able to connect with my pain and struggles


and have a more insightful way to approach and resolve 


their family struggles and pain.



People in pain really just want to have validation that...


what they are going through is painful and difficult.


People, for the most part, just need to know that they are not alone.


Let's be clear... you are not alone... not even close.

  

If you feel strained in your relationship with your family... 


trust... there are countless individuals who know 


exactly what you are going through.



Those of us who have been there and done that... 


know all too well what that feels like and 


would never try to diminish your experience.


While we may not be born into families of people who think like us 

and share our values... there are many people in the world 

who can provide the support that our family members 

may be unable to give.

It is my firm conviction that in one way or another… 


many of us need healing of our inner hurts. 



I am sharing my story in hopes that it may help you and me 


to patiently endure and see God's hand in our situation.



For those who have experienced life circumstances 


which may have caused you great pain... 


it is my prayer, you will come to realize 


that your hurting is only temporary.


God knows your hurt, and


He will not ignore your need.



Right now, I am back on the battlefield. 


When Satan, who is pure evil, rises against us 


we must have our Spiritual armor in place, 


so that we are able to stand strong and firm in faith 


which God has given us.



We must know who the enemy is. 


If we don't know who the real enemy is and how he operates, 


chances are, we will not win. 



One of Satan's battle tactics is... 


erecting roadblocks and pitfalls to hinder the work of God.


He loves to find us spiritually withered and unprepared. 


That makes his job of getting people on his path 


and following his ways... easy.



The enemy is once again upset and would love to 


shake up my mind, my attitude, my heart, 


my faith, and my peace. 


He wants us angry and off center... 


so we will not be able to think clearly. 



It's important for us to do whatever we can to avoid 


unproductive arguments and keep our temper in check. 


We must make a conscious choice to behave in accordance 


with our values, despite our circumstances. 



I prayed, humbly asking God to intervene. 


I also believed that my best way to deal with the swarming drama 


was to uplug, reset, and journal... 


turning these dramatic times into a real life story...  


that many can relate to and hopefully be blessed by.



Journaling helps us to steer clear


of Satan and his vicious forces. 


They will try every trick in the book to distract us 


and shift our focus.

 


Journaling allows us to shift our experience. 


Instead of affirming the experience of struggle, 


distraction, and strife we can remove tension 


from those unpleasant situations by journaling.


Reading, brainstorming, researching, and writing


helps to extend the light within us. 


The effects can echo and extend far beyond the moment. 



Rather than allowing others to destroy our inner peace... 


let us quiet ourselves and maintain 


a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, 


feelings, environment, and experiences.


We must stay alert and awake.

 


Because of our forgetfulness... we always need to be reminded 


of what God has done for us.


Reminders are very important. 


Reminders remind us that we are hopeless without God.


Reminders also remind us who we are and Whose we are.


We may even need to be reminded that... 


Satan can use any person or situation to rise up against us.



Evoking mindfulness reduces vulnerability, stress, 


and emotional distress.



The many benefits of journaling is...


it helps us outline our innermost thoughts and feelings 


while allowing us to use it as a vehicle 


of emotional exploration and healing.


Many times we are able to channel difficult feelings 


into healthy and creative outcomes. 


When others are mean-spirited, dishonest, or unkind...


let us know that we can only control our reaction to it.  


The way we conduct ourselves in tough, dark times 


speaks volumes about who we are and Whose we are.


The genealogies in Scripture should serve 


as a reminder of how much our actions 


do matter for those yet to come.


It is my prayer these offerings will be encouraging, useful, and substantial 


for anyone who may also be subjected to family dysfunction.


For some, dysfunctional families have become 


the breeding grounds for abuse and neglect. 


Some members will do everything in their power 


to keep us from attaining our goals. 



There are people whose desire and aim is to wreak havoc, cause pain,


excommunicate family members, and outright destroy relationships. 


In this instance, they are my family members 


and/or their small circle of friends.


“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 


If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; 


but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, 


therefore the world hates you. 


Remember the word that I said to you:

 

'A servant is not greater than his Master.’ 


If they persecuted Me, 


they will also persecute you.”


In my family, it appears that nobody is happy 


unless everyone stays in their place 


and become a part of their twisted belief system… 


where they redefine what truth is.

Among all the qualities which a person develops... 


possibly none is of greater consequence


than one's feelings about whether or not they matter. 


The family is seen as playing a key role, in the process. 


They have a major influence on how a member feels about themselves.


They are the important people in the member's life 


who either treats the member with kindness and respect 


or with disdain and extreme criticism.


Family can make a member feel that they do matter... 


or don't count.


Unfortunately, the more some members grow and evolve, 


the more others, who aren’t ready to do the same, will do... 


to back the evolving member into a mental corner... 


just so they might be able to hinder the evolving members' growth... 


sometimes, even stooping to levels of serious dysfunction.


Some seem to relish in going over and above to 


immobilize those growing members.

It is painful when you find those who should want the best for you... 


resenting you instead.


Some family members will do whatever they can to hold members back. 


They can be cunning, crafty, and quite deceitful in their scheming. 


They seem threatened by a family member’s need to evolve.


When the old pattern is interrupted 


by a change in the familiar functioning, 


and a member begins to think differently... 


it seems as if their sense of security feels challenged. 


It’s like a big barrel of crabs… 


whenever one of the crabs attempts to climb out and escape, 


the other crabs will grab hold of him and pull him back down 


in a useless "King of the hill" competition.


They get stuck in the competition rut,


which is often one-sided, 


because the abuser is the only one competing! 



All of the struggling crabs could easily escape from the barrel, 


but instead as one ascends closer to the top of the barrel,


nearing their escape...


The entire system will shift in response 


and clamp their claws to one's ankle and drag him back down 


into the barrel.


They don't want to see him succeed.

This crabs in a barrel mentality has created the worst kind of loyalty. 


It is like some honor code that prohibits anyone from changing or growing. 


The mentality is...


“If I can’t get out of this barrel of crabs, 


nobody is getting out.” 


Some will do and have done malicious 


and unfathomable acts of undermining


to control and contain family members.


When a member begins working with their soul, 

in an attempt to have a closer walk with God, 

grow spiritually, gain energy, vitality, 

and clarity about life and our mission... 

they may also notice their own family members 

are their greatest hindrance.
 

As God has built in a desire for growth, 


so there are others who do their best to hinder our Spiritual growth. 



Satan’s clear purpose is to stop the advance of God’s people. 


He will, intentionally, use any willing fleshly vessel 


to place all kinds of obstacles, 


stumbling blocks, and devilish temptations before us. 


If we are not alert and awake, 


Satan's evil schemes can overshadow our godly desires. 


Transformation of another seems to send some into a tailspin. 


They continuously mock, belittle, 


and discourage the others efforts 


in hopes that they will finally cave 


and rejoin them in their bucket of misery. 



Once the member caves... they immediately accept 


that individual back into the barrel of crabs.


When we try to walk in our calling... we will have "haters".


Their main objective is to get us off course... 


to pull us down and keep us down.


Some people actually suffer from, the unfortunate, 


crabs in a barrel syndrome.

 


Sometimes our own family can become our worst enemies


in an effort to derail our efforts and destroy our spirit. 


Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are people 


who will lash out just to be mean and ugly. 



There will always be those who try to tear us down, 


but regardless of the words or actions of the naysayers, on the sidelines, 


we can always choose to take the high road.


At the end of the day...


it is taking the high road that will bring us inner peace, 


even in the midst of the useless turmoil others may try to create.



No matter what obstacles come against us, 


let us keep the Golden Rule of...


"Doing unto others as we would have others do unto us."


This is a command based on words of Jesus


 in the Sermon on the Mount.


Treating others as we would like to be treated... works.



Let us press on... and not do evil for evil. 


Let us keep our eyes on the prize...


and always stay true to ourselves and our God. 


We tend to think of bullying as something that happens 


in the schoolyard amongst kids 


who are being mean and abusive to one another. 


However, as incredible as it might seem,


verbal abuse and emotional abuse 


through power, control, domination, 


subjugation, and relentless sibling rivalry 


are the weapons of choice for 


some family members to gain control 


over others.


There are families that scapegoat a loved one from childhood,


into and including adulthood.

One’s family of origin can target one member for accusations, 


blame, criticism, and ostracism. 


They belittle, excommunicate, and slander, in an attempt to 


assassinate another’s character.


Why would a family choose a loved one to bully and scapegoat? 



Scapegoating is often a way for families 


to hide problems that they cannot face. 


At times the scapegoat is targeted by the sibling 


who was always the bully of the family. 


In that way, the less favored sibling becomes the repository 


of everything that is wrong in the family.

It’s sometimes right to defend your reputation 


before those who have slandered you. 


However, it is possible, when the scapegoat argues 


and pleads their innocence before the family… 


they can sometimes find themselves 


further blamed and persecuted.

Some families are blessed, after a death, 


to realize a closer-knit family unit. 


Close-knit families leave no opportunity 


for any of their members to fall through the cracks. 


They are supportive, they share similar goals and values, 


they are united by certain convictions and common characteristics,


and they, for the most part, work together as a unit.


In many cases, we find that the close-knit family 


encourages every member to succeed, 


lovingly uplifting each member on toward their destiny. 


Some people come from very helpful families—


ones where the inhabitants form a helpful ladder 


for the members to climb up and out.


The death of a loved one can have a major impact on families. 


Each individual family member must reconcile 


the end of their physical relationship with the person who died 


and their ongoing grief over the loss. 


Unfortunately, this often means that at a time 


when the family could benefit from being closer than ever... 


misunderstandings and differences set them at a distance.


Death has a remarkable way 


of bringing out the best and the worst in people.


Sometimes we may see the reconciliation of a relationship 


that was long estranged. 


We may witness family supporting each other 



in unimaginably selfless ways.

 While some adult siblings bond more closely 


after the death of their parents and or other siblings, 


others find that the loss brings unresolved tensions 


and old rivalries to the surface that can trigger the worst...

like fighting at a time when we should all be coming together.


Trying to cope with the death...


while our support system is the source of our stress 


and far from supportive can take a toll on us. 



The combined stressors of grieving the death of our loved one, 


and losing the family at the same time...


can have us feeling like our world is crumbling.


We all grieve in different ways 


and for different periods of time. 


It’s not uncommon for family resentments to boil over 


in the wake of grief, which often leads to hurt feelings 


and arguments after the death of a loved one.


However,


 greed is an even uglier 


common reaction to death. 


The prospect of an inheritance can turn up the heat 


under simmering dysfunction.


You can almost see the tentacles of materialism and greed 


reaching and grabbing, pushing and shoving into every sphere.


There are those who take advantage of a death in the family 


to line their own pockets, even if it means going against 


the wishes of the deceased.


You might assume that a will or estate plan ensures 


that money will go to the intended heirs — 


but inheritance theft is a treacherous and underreported problem 


that can cost families dearly. 


And since inheritance thieves are usually family members, 


the fallout often is not only about money, but also family ties.


There are many, like me, who see grief turn into greed, 


the vulture mentality, or… out and out corruption.

Some people are opportunistic and greedy. 


Money and things, for some, is thicker than blood. 


Anything that gives some people a sense of gain 


can bring out the most horrendous side of that person.


Some are clever enough, brazen enough, 


and merciless enough to find a way to claim and seize 


that which is not theirs. 


In a nutshell, 


some family members willingly and intentionally 


take advantage of the family at their most vulnerable low points.


It’s never fun to have the realization 


that someone has taken something from you, 


but it really adds insult to the injury 


when we discover that the thieves are family members.

It turned out that mother’s will was changed 


months before she passed. She was confused and disoriented 


and very close to death. She had been forced 


to make changes to her will against her wishes 


by our overbearing sister.


My sister has always had a pathological need to control others


and she uses many lies to accomplish it. 


It is as if... every single action employed by her stems from... 


habitual and compulsive lying 


and a pathological need to control others.

She lies effectively and will go to any extent 


to bring her agenda to extort supply to fruition. 


She goes over and beyond to make people, in the family, 


surrender their identity, their power, and individualism. 


Her sense of entitlement is delusional... 


much like Jacob offering Esau a bowl of stew for his birthright.


She would rather win the argument and push the point...


that she is right (which is usually not the case)... 


and not ever consider respectfully attempting 


to resolve the conflict.

Conflicts can escalate when the people involved 


are too acrimonious to listen to each other. 


Misunderstandings can fuel arguments. 


When we are constantly interrupted 


and the conversation is redirected by unrelated issues... 


nothing gets resolved.


 My sister acts as if her goal is to devalue family members, 


take away their worth, 


and have family accept her self-serving abuse as normal… 


or else.


My sister has a desperate and debilitating love for family… 


which has absolutely nothing to do with love. 


Some people are unscrupulous and mean spirited with family, 


but quite the opposite around those whom they feel the need to impress.

They will bring people against us 

and will use the actions of friends, relatives, 

and even spouses to shoot flaming arrows in our direction.

Because I knew what Mother’s concerns were... 


regarding my sister and her partner... I became my sister’s whipping post, 


scapegoat, and fall guy. She has treated me with disdain and disgust 


in an attempt to manipulate me. 


When I speak up for myself she attempts to "Gaslight" me ... 


this is to impress upon others that I am crazy, 


should not be listened to, respected, or taken seriously.



Trust, I did not volunteer for this position. 


I was pretty much slam dunked into it.


My mom would say one thing to me... 


and would be afraid to address my sister 


and would say whatever my sister wanted to hear. 


This power over mother was gained... 


when dad passed, in 1992.


The conflicts and clashes have been brewing for decades


 with my sister and younger brother versus me. 


My older brother told me that she has disliked me since birth.


Sibling rivalry may sound like a stretch, 


but it is as old and as unavoidable as time itself. 


It is the "Bad blood" unfriendliness, malice, loathing, 


tension, feuding, or hostility between brothers and/or sisters


which manifests itself in circumstances much like 


the sibling rivalry as seen in the pages of the Bible.


Our family was held together by our now deceased parents. 


When they died… the vultures came out to grab the spoils 


without considering the pain and family strife that would unfold.


In the case of dad, mother, and the middle brother who died, 


my only living sister and younger brother, 


whom I shared the same parents with… 


positioned themselves to benefit monetarily 


from our loved one’s death.

These covetous two, now executors of the estate, 


notoriously sprung into action! 


They engaged in criminal behavior, forging signatures, 


creating strife, fighting about everything, hurling slanderous… 


unfounded accusations, and they told out and out lies… 


repeatedly, to cover their tracks. 


These two appropriated inheritances not meant for them; 


without remorse! 


Where is the justice in this?


Tragedy in life can come with betrayal and compromise. 


My siblings seemed to have been okay trading their integrity and dignity... 


for thirty pieces of silver. The ugly deeds my siblings have performed... 


are NOT okay. These terrible acts of lies and betrayal 


have torn our whole family apart.


Their evil deeds had to require a strong stomach for dishonesty, 


a willingness to submit to self-delusion, 


and a heartless ability to ruin the future of legitimate heirs. 


And in doing so… they showed blatant contempt and disrespect 


for our middle brother, mother, and father’s final wishes 


of being fair, honorable, decent, and equitable.


Let’s face it, most thinking people know that these devilish deeds, 


in any court of law, is considered as… outright thievery. 



Isn’t it interesting how, supposedly, “overwhelming grief” 


takes an immediate backseat to potential monetary gain?


As hard as it is for many of us to admit, countless families 


who we never imagined... have found themselves in despicable conflicts


over material things. 


They are suddenly overwhelmed by major disagreements 


and power struggles over money and things.

Money and things can become a slave master and drive people 


to do all sorts of things.


The love of money, not money itself, 


is a source of all different kinds of trouble and evil.

Wealth is morally neutral; there is nothing wrong with money, 


in and of itself, or the possession of money. 


However, when money begins to control us,


that’s when trouble starts.

Greed causes people to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t normally do. 


The love of money is what motivates people to lie, steal, cheat, 


embezzle, and even murder.


According to Scripture, people who have a love for money 


lack the godliness and contentment that is the true gain in God’s eyes.


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, 


“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one 


and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one 


and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”


(Matthew 6:24).

This verse comes at the end of a passage in which Jesus tells us to 


“Lay up treasures in Heaven” (v. 19). 


Here, Jesus likens a “Love of money” to idolatry. 


He refers to money as a “Master” we serve 


at the expense of serving God.


We are commanded by God to have “No other gods”


before the only true and living God 


(Exodus 20:3); the first commandment).


Unfortunately, not all siblings express love for one another. 



Many of the famous sibling groups mentioned often


 throughout the Old and New Testaments are known 


for their interpersonal conflicts and even hatred for each other.


Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, 


thereby committing the first murder

 

(Genesis 4:3–8). 



Jacob and Esau were at odds 


from the time they were in the womb and into adulthood 


(Genesis 25:23; 27). 


Jacob was jealous of Esau's birthright 


and his father's favoritism (Gen. 25:28-34). 



Leah was jealous of Rachel's beauty (Gen. 29:17).



 The rivalry between Leah and Rachel was bitter, 


made worse by their father Laban, a devious and unscrupulous man.

 


Rebekah overheard Isaac's decision to bless Esau. 


Rebekah loved her son Jacob more. 


She schemed to get the blessing for Jacob 


(Gen. 27:8-10,14-17).

 


Joseph's brothers were jealous of him. 


His brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt 


(Genesis 37:12–28). 



Even Martha and Mary’s story contains 


a disagreement between the sisters 


(Luke 10:38–42).


Jesus Himself had siblings—


brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, 


and an unknown number of sisters 


(Matthew 12:46; 13:55, 56).



Jesus once used His family 


as a picture of His relationship with His followers: 


“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, 


His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 


Someone told Him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, 


wanting to speak to You.’ He replied to him, 


‘Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?’ 


Pointing to His disciples, He said, 


‘Here are My mother and My brothers. 


For whoever does the Will of My Father in heaven 


is My brother and sister and mother’” 


(Matthew 12:46–50).

Many, if not all, cases of birth-family abuse can be traced back 


to jealousy, selfishness, parental partiality (real or perceived), 


or envy in the abuser’s heart.

We know that in the real world sibling rivalry exists, 


but we are often blindsided by it because it is the last thing 


we would expect from a family member.

 


Brothers and sisters argue and fight each other, lie and trick each other, 


and generally treat each other horribly at times.


It never feels good... in fact, it is very painful to be the target... 


a whipping post for siblings or anyone else. 


It can be very painful being on the receiving end


of another person’s verbal assaults. 


Words laced with poison can be just as emotionally 


and/or spiritually excruciating as physical blows, 


and those that hurl words as a weapon 


are often quite skilled at using them.


My siblings seem to constantly assume I am the rightful catch-all for 


anger, criticism, and judgment. 


To my siblings, it seems that the name “Carole” 


is synonymous with “whipping post”.



Apparently, they do not realize that their words and deeds 


have an impending doom. 


They are blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3–4),


 bound in darkness (Col. 1:13, Acts 26:18),


 and caught in Satan’s snare (2 Tim. 2:25–26).


One of the most sobering facts about life is that 


all humans have a supernatural enemy whose aim is 


to use pain and pleasure to make us blind, stupid, and miserable. 


The Scriptures call him “The devil and Satan, 


the deceiver of the whole world . . . the accuser” (Revelation 12:9–10),


“The ruler of this world” (John 12:31), 


and “The god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).


Satan is our “Adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion, 


seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 


Yet, in the most appalling and unwitting bondage, 


the whole world willingly “Follows the prince of the power of the air, 


the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).


 At his most successful, his  subjects march obliviously 


to destruction and take as many with them as they can.


The Scriptures speak about the reality of a conflict 


we face as believers. 


We call that conflict “Spiritual warfare.” 


Satan and his forces are real.


A tactic of manipulators is intentionally 


setting up misdeeds and then questioning 


the victims' sanity for reacting to those misdeeds. 


They provoke negative emotions, 


then dismiss the victims' legitimate concerns 


with labels like “Crazy”, Insane”, and “Sensitive”.



They are patronizing, unapologetic, and cowardly. 


When they realize they are unable to manipulate a strong soul… 


they begin to manufacture insanity and chaos.

I believe God has intentionally allowed me


to have more than I can handle 


so that I'm forced into deeper dependence on Him. 



Understanding my limitations frees me to put my trust


in God's limitless power and wisdom. 


It allows me to live out my faith in front of my family. 



When I come to the end of myself, I arrive at a divine opportunity 


to see God's grace show up amid the chaos.


The devil has tried to bait us with false teaching, 


lure us into sin, and turn us against each other. 


He does this to keep us from glorifying God 


and walking in our calling. 


He seeks to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8) 


so we can no longer be a light to a lost world.


The enemy wants us to mess up (fall into sin), 


give up (get discouraged), get puffed up (live in arrogance), 


split up (divide), or shut up and quit spreading the Good News.


 Messed up people are used to mess up others. 


People who are messed up seem to get some comfort 


or consolation from knowing that others are messed up 


and miserable too.


In spreading the Good News it requires intentionally 


taking the light into the darkness. 


Satan is fighting against us because 


we are God’s witnesses to the world.


We must stand firm, press on, 


and boldly march into the enemy’s kingdom 


to do the work of we have been assigned to do.



Satan's goal is to keep us from proclaiming 


and living out the Good News that sets people free. 



One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to entice us to operate 


in our own ability.



David the shepherd boy 


took on the giant in faith and dependence,


knowing that the battle was not his in the first place, 


but rather the Lord’s (1 Sam. 17:47).



When he became the king, though, 


David sought to know just how mighty his own forces were 


as he leaned more on himself than on God (1 Chron. 21:1–5). 


Ego stepped in and steered him in the wrong direction. 



By the way; here’s food for thought: 


ego is the acronym for easing God out. 


When God is not in the forefront... 


our doom is near.



The enemy delights when we become full of ourselves—


when we’re much more like David the king... 


than David the shepherd boy.



The very task of spreading the Good News 


places us in the sights of the enemy. 


The devil doesn’t want us to reach non-believers, 


develop and plant healthy seeds of encouragement, 


or see us cultivate a close, intimate relationship with God.


God tells us to “go ye”. 


God sends us out where people are perishing!


The wider lesson is...


when we have been blessed, by God... 


those spiritual blessings are not for us 


to keep to ourselves or hide under a bushel basket. 



God gives the bread of life to us 


so that we might break it and share it with the world. 


This means that we are offensively 


engaging the enemy’s territory... 


we can know that the enemy will fight back.


We do genuinely wrestle against principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12), 


but the devil and his forces have never been outside of God’s control.



Warfare is the devil’s attempt to deceive and divide believers. 


But, 


the enemy we face... 


is a liar and a defeated foe!


We needn’t fear. In the power of God, 


we must simply love God and live and speak for Him 


in such a way that God is glorified...and an already-defeated Satan 


is threatened (Acts 19:11–16).


After many years of pain and disgust 


from the blatant and heinous acts of my 


younger brother and only living sister… 


the two older brothers who witnessed the hellish hand I was dealt... 


did not have the guts to stand for truth and speak up, 


yet, they speak of righteousness all the time.



They seem to be oblivious to the silent thief, 


deceiver, destroyer, and murderer they have, naively, embraced.



The following quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King 


are appropriate... for such a time as this:



The hottest place in Hell 


is reserved for those who remain neutral 


in times of great moral conflict."




"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light 


of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."




"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous 


than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."




"If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, 


he isn't fit to live."




"The ultimate measure of a man 


is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, 


but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."




"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:

 

'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' 


But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 


'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"




"He who passively accepts evil


is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. 




He who accepts evil without protesting against it


is really cooperating with it."




"In the end, we will remember 


not the words of our enemies,


but the silence of our friends.”




"Our lives begin to end 


the day we become silent 


about things that matter."


"The ultimate tragedy is not 


the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, 


but the silence over that by the good people."




"There comes a time when silence is betrayal."


Where love, compassion, and support were so desperately needed, 


instead, I found myself on another battlefield. 


Why?


I wish I could answer that question intelligently. 


I wish I knew why so many people go sideways 


when death visits a family. 



Now, I am being accused, criticized, 


and lied on by the older brothers 


whom I looked up to and respected. 



Recently, the one brother that I shared 


painful 50 plus year old memories with... 


has purposely broken a confidence



For years I believed he was a high soul, 


a God-fearing man who was upright, 


fair, and guided by integrity. 


Obviously, his actions proved that he was unable 


to be who I thought he was or needed him to be.



It is hard enough when one is attacked 


and conspired against by the enemy and the world, 


but when the fiery arrows come from those whom we love


and have bared our soul to... the hurt becomes magnified.



Betrayal is one of life's hardest blows. 


Jesus knew what betrayal felt like. 



Jesus was betrayed into the hands of His enemies by Judas, 


for thirty pieces of silver, 


and Jesus was deserted by all the rest. 



The very people Jesus had helped, 


healed, fed, and encouraged cried… 



CRUCIFY HIM!


 

The very ones Jesus blessed… 


became His enemies.



Trust is the most vulnerable state of being. 


When we give it away... all our weaknesses are exposed 


to those who it has been given.



Betrayal is the vindictive violation of trust. 


A betrayal is an act of double-crossing another. 


The sting of betrayal can be dreadfully agonizing 


and become so embedded in our subconscious mind... 


that the betrayal may become too difficult to extract.



Betrayal is painful, but it can


also be a profound education.

Good results can come from less than good intentions


and become our blessings in disguise... 


and that rude awakening we so desperately needed.



Familial betrayal is probably the most 


heartbreaking kind of betrayal 


anyone can experience. 


What makes it so hurtful is the fact that our trust 


is violated by someone we never knew 


could do such a thing.



The one person whom I thought I could confide in, 


was actually hiding everything from me.


This particular brother, without warning or reason, 


was verbally insulting and hurtful. 


His words, tone, and actions were devilish.



My brother accused me, sentenced me, 


and nailed me to the cross without thinking about 


the awful accusations he was making … 


versus, what he actually knows to be true.

 


He began venting hostile, harsh, uncaring, mean, 


destructive, brutally hurtful, and baseless allegations.

 

It seemed as if he had harbored those thoughts for a while.



He unleashed a cascade of slanderous remarks. 


It was as if the truth he knew… mysteriously vanished. 


He totally disregarded the truth, 


and did not appear to be interested in considering 


the full ramifications of his rantings.

 

The lies he was spewing...


seemed to have been more welcomed than the truth. 


He seemed locked into the lies… 


and seemed quite comfortable with it. 


It felt like his main intention was to antagonize 


and seriously wound me with those painful 


and poisonous accusations. 


His choice of descriptors, for me, were venomous and 


certainly not indicative of the brother I thought I knew 


or wanted him to be.



After my brother finished speaking, 


I just stood there in shock and disbelief. 


I tried to see who was speaking through him. 



It was as if he was trying to elicit a certain reaction from me 


to make himself feel some kind of way. 


Thank God, his rantings could not dictate or define 


my reactions or behavior. 


I have discovered the way to end a fight 


is often by refusing to engage... period.

For some,

Satan’s lies become their truth. 

Our thoughts are the seeds of our actions.


Sometimes we give too little thought to the things we say.


The book of Proverbs reminds us again and again 


that if we are wise, we are careful about our words. 


A fool expresses his wrath by his speaking; 


We must be careful about our language.



We need to notice and make sure the seeds we broadcast


 are in alignment with what is righteous.


Betrayal gives tremendous insights 


into one’s character.



The deepest scars are those we do not see. 


The simplest little words, which we take for granted, 


have the power to hurt or heal, to inspire or discourage, 


to help or to hinder.



Hurtful and thoughtless words... 


downloaded into another’s head 


can devastate one's life. 



Words have great power. Words are persuasive. 


By our own words we can inflate our own ego/self-esteem 


out of its proper perspective. 


We need to be careful of those who would flatter us


 and also those who would condemn us.


They can cause one to believe things 


about others or themselves that are not true, 


and often, the negative words or flattering lies 


are remembered long after they are forgotten 


by the one who spoke them.



Research shows that words have an emotional, 


physical, and spiritual impact. 


They are messengers; that can carry defeat, 


bring worry, and death... 


or transmit victory, peace, and life for many! 

When we listen to the rantings of the wrong voices… 


we tend to believe things we should not. 


Listening to the wrong voices can have one unleashing 


anger on someone undeserving of it. 



Until we know what voices someone else has been listening to, 


we don't know how to understand them.


Let us watch our words. Let us speak life... encouraging others,


rather than finding ways to cut someone off and put someone down. 


Our words should uplift and encourage instead of crushing and hurting others. 


Idle minds and a willing tongue can be used as the devil's mouthpiece.

May we be an example of God's righteousness 


and purity in our speech and in our deeds.

Within each of us lies the power to direct 


the flood of feelings that surges forth.


1 John 4:1 reminds us:


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, 


but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.



It appears that both, 70 plus-year-old, brothers 


are wasting the one precious thing in our lives 


that we will never be able to acquire again, once it's gone... 


our time.



They are wasting time... making accusations of horrendous nature 


where no evidence exists to substantiate those accusations.



Seventy plus years of life has to be and mean


much more than being hurtful, senseless, 


thoughtless, and mean-spirited. 



If the words we speak have 



no truth and no light... 



they are contrary to 



the Word of God.



The questions become:



How can pettiness, gossiping, and



attempting to drag and tear another down



make life better or be pleasing to God? 



How is it beneficial to depress, 


dishearten, confuse, weaken, block, 


or discourage one who is really trying 


to grow, give their best, evolve, 


be committed, stay focused, 


and walk in their calling? 



Is this developing you 


or advancing the universe?



 Is your language edifying? 


Are you proud of your output?



Is it leading any of us to better behavior 


or noble goals?



Does any of this make for beautiful memories?




Does any of this leave the world...


better than you found it?




We are the heirs of all that generations of the past



ever dreamed of, thought out, accomplished,



struggled for and with, fought and died for. 



We are the heirs of all 



that they have eloquently expressed.

 



Some of the richest deposits of inspiration, 



ideas, thoughts, and philosophies,  

 


have been written and came down to us, 



through the ages, for our guidance...



 and as a light for the generations to come.


 


We stand at the apex of a vast pyramid 



of human development. 



Every generation has enjoyed the use of the



rich deposits passed on to it 



by the great civilizations of antiquity.


 


Does any of this backbiting, gossiping, 



and crushing another's spirit 



leave future generations better off?




Come on... can this insanity help any of us 



gain greater self knowledge?




Let us wake up and bless God!




We were created to fulfill God's purpose 



and glorify God's Name.

 


There is no one in this world 


more important than God. 


There is nothing more important 


than loving God and dedicating ourselves 


to His cause.



We so often fill our days with unnecessary 


and negative activities. 



Some are quick to jump on board 



with mean spirited and hurtful gossip, 



bickering, and inconsequential nonsense.




This day could be our last moment... 


time is not something we can delay.


The future is not promised to anyone.


Life moves on... minute by minute.

 


Why waste precious moments 


being mean-spirited and uncaring?



Let us make the most of each day 


by cherishing every day, 


being grateful to God 


for allowing us to see another day,


 and pouring forth a heart of gratitude 


for every breath and every moment of life 


God has blessed us with.



We are alive... able to see the sunrise 


and the sunset. We can hear the birds sing, 


walk outside and feel the breeze 


and the sun's warmth on our skin. 


We woke up this morning with a sound mind. 



Most of us are blessed to still be able 


to inhale deep lungfuls of air!



Think about it...


Most of us have a roof over our heads,


 clothes to wear, and live in a country 


that protects our basic human rights 


and civil liberties.

 


We are reasonably strong and healthy. 


We have overcome many obstacles and roadblocks. 


We have untapped potential, passion, and drive.



We have access to clean drinking water, 


medical care, and internet.


We can read and write.



We are doing better than a lot of people in this world.


So, rather than wasting time with 


unproductive behavior...

 

let us be reminded...


every breath we take is an undeserved miracle, 


every moment is a wonderful blessing from God, 


and every experience 


is a precious gift from God.



May we seek God, seek and speak truth, 


praise God more, count our blessings,


cultivate gratitude, give thanks, 


be kind, grow spiritually, 


quietly and sincerely help someone,


enjoy just being, rather than rushing 


and going nowhere fast,

 

let us take time to explore, read, 


learn new things, use our time wisely.


Let us seize those precious moments 


that, if lost, can never be retrieved.


Let us live!..


doing and being the best we can be.



Many people are leaving us 


with their gifts and talents still in them.


We could possibly leave the world 


better than we found it 


if we utilize our God-given gifts and talents.



When it is all said and done 


and we find ourselves 



standing before God... 



let us bless God by showing Him



 that our gifts and talents 



are all exhausted, 



and we stand before Him on... 



"Empty."




The oldest living brother and I were very close. 


In the midst of all of the family drama... 


his girlfriend of over 25 years 


decided she would express how much she hated me


and couldn’t wait to see me living under a bridge. 


She apparently insisted that my brother


 no longer communicate with me 


and apparently he followed her lead. 


So, now there is a wedge between us. 


We no longer communicate. 



I was floored that my brothers, 


knowing and witnessing all of the hours of degradation, 


the scars of abuse, and almost two decades of hell I have gone through, 


and not even understanding why these things were happening themselves, 


would shrink back into silence and not stand up for truth.



This is baffling. It is, yet, another dismal low 


in our family dynamics... to say the least. 



My brother who spoke harshly to me 


now seems to be needy for acceptance, 


from the older brother, and the klan of crabs in the barrel. 


He has gone back into the barrel of crabs and 


is entertaining those, inside the barrel of crabs, 


by gossiping and making unfounded, 


slanderous remarks about me, in their presence.



This particular sort of betrayal is, in my opinion, 


treacherous and damaging.

 


It’s as if both older brothers, by their actions and words,


are projecting their pain onto me, 


and slandering me for their unhappiness.



If my two older brothers would be honest... 


they would tell the truth and admit that I’ve been vilified... 


without cause. 


The only sense I can make out of this is that 


they would rather quietly sneak back into the bucket of crabs 


and not get involved or...


they could be prone to believe absurd things about others 


simply because things are told to them. 


Whatever it is... 


something has been blown way out of proportion... 


and has created something much deeper than it is... 


was... or should be.

 


The more they conspire and spread these lies... 


the more it is spiraling into this uncontrollable 


avalanche of unfounded and hurtful allegations!



I'm still confused about the events leading up to 


the relationship breakdowns with my brothers.


I’m trying to make sense out of the nonsense… 


to no avail.



Most incredibly, these senior members of my family have finally caved 


and have been accepted back into the bucket of crabs. 


It appears, they are deliberately trying to destroy my character, 


my zest for life, and my desire to walk in my calling.



Why? 


Is this part of their initiation back into 


the bucket of crabs?



Don’t they realize they, too... 


have a calling on their lives?


Do they not realize that time is running out?


We are living seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, 


months, and years that we will never get back


 and breathing air that we will never 


breathe in again. 


None of us are getting any younger.

It is very disappointing to see these men, whom I looked up to  


and respected, have nothing to share with the world other than 


devilish gossip, lies, and pettiness.

I don’t know what they have to gain 


in being so hurtful and negative.



Now, the brother who recently made all of the hurtful remarks... 


is attempting to minimize what happened 


and deflect by playing the victim to the circumstances he, 


along with his coaches, created. 


Maybe their silence is due to fear 


of our loud and brazen sister.



It seems they would rather surrender their dignity 


and crawl back into the barrel of crabs 


than assert themselves, and tell the truth.

 


What they have shown me is… 


they are not the righteousness and truthful brothers


that I thought they were. 



I wonder why reliable truths would seem like a threat? 


And why is the truth unattainable?


Why would they, in word, search for truth;


yet, fall for and live a lie?


Where are those men who professed to be 


high souls?



High souls tend to ascend to enlightenment 


rather than yield and descend to the bondage 


found in a barrel of crabs.


High souls are one with Truth... 


they seek justice and truth.


High souls would do what they could, to make things right,


if it were in their power to do so.



"He that has eyes to see and ears to hear 


may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. 


If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; 


betrayal oozes out of him at every pore." 


– Sigmund Freud


I am grateful and humbled that God is omniscient. 


Because God knows everything (1John 3:20)... 


not only the minutest details of our lives,


but those of everything around us. 


With God as our Observer, Seer, Knower, and ever-present witness... 


it matters not when the physical eyewitnesses 


shrink back in silence.


Not only does God know everything 


that will occur until the end of history itself 


(Isaiah 46:9-10), 


but He also knows our very thoughts, 


even before we speak forth (Psalm 139:4).


God knows our hearts from afar; 


He even saw us in the womb (Psalm 139:1-3, 15-16). 


Obviously, none of us likes to deal with the hurtful behavior 


of someone who is lashing out at us.  


It is heartbreaking when it happens; however, 


I do believe with all my heart 


that as much as it may cause us to feel bad, 


it isn’t something we should ever allow to drive 


how we feel about ourselves.  


We should never let our view of ourselves 


be determined by family or anyone who is lashing out. 


People aren’t perfect and people aren’t all-knowing – 


Only God is. 

By the grace of God rather than becoming enraged, 


as probably expected by them, 


God had me to remain still and silent. 


He reminded me that this battle was not mine.



Jesus also knows the feeling of support falling away. 


He is all too acquainted with having the very ones 


who should stand up for Him… 


to shrink back and turn against Him.



Jesus knows exactly how it feels to be betrayed.

 

Not only is He touched by our feelings of betrayal, 


but...


"He is that Friend 


who sticks closer than a brother."


Proverbs 18:24

It is easy for my siblings and others to sit and look in 


from the outside and criticize, disparage, 


or otherwise cast aspersion on me, 


but God knows... 


He has witnessed it all.

 


God is our Perfect Judge,

 


and we can trust God, implicitly.



I am reminded of a quote of Albert Einstein, he tells us, 


“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, 


but by those who watch them without doing anything.”



I am now seeing how... even the people who betray us 


are part of God’s Master Plan. 


The pain God allows is not meant 


to make us weaker or break us down.


It is sent to raise us up and make us stronger. 



Jesus could not have gone to the cross 


without Judas and his betrayal.


I have been prayerfully trying to find my way 


through this hellish haze of madness. 


I’ve tried to rise above the foolish distractions,

 

and I am trying to see my siblings… 


as being where they are... 


because that is where they have decided to be.



True, they were attempting to hurt me, 


but obviously, what they have not come to realize is 


how they are betraying the God part of themselves.



Their participation with Satan and all of the noise, 


confusion, and chaos that comes along with him, 


is silencing and keeping them from hearing the directives 


of the still small voice of God inside of them. 



I am sure if they knew better... 


they would begin to do better by resisting Satan... 


and not falling for his evil schemes.



Jesus says, 


“Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered 


that will not be revealed, 


or hidden that will not be known” 


(Matt. 10:26). 


The truth will win in the end.


I am trusting time will reveal the truth. 


God is able to see behind enemy lines. 


God knows exactly the strategies that will be used against us. 


With God as our witness, 


we will not be outwitted by Satan. 



By the grace of God, 


the truth is relentless, unyielding, inevitable, and invincible. 


It’s the king of come-from-behind victories!



I love Spurgeon's metaphor: 


“A great lie, if unnoticed, is like a big fish out of the water—


it dashes and plunges and beats itself to death in a short time.”



Thank God, time moves on. 

The sting from all of this is giving way to accepting reality. 


I know things will never be the same. 


I also realize not everyone has the same value systems 


as to how to treat others, and that it is easier to criticize 


or abandon those in need rather than be 


a positive part of the situation.



“Family” is not necessarily what we were born into. 


A real and true family are those who stand by us, 


unconditionally and without reproach or judgment.



God is allowing me to rise above the madness 


because He is with me... 


physically, emotionally, spiritually 


and every imaginable way that one can be there 


for another in a most desperate time of need.



Our storms might look different in this life, 


but they all offer the opportunity to change us, forever. 


And God can take what seems tragic and devastating 


and turn it around for good.

 


It may not happen as quickly as we'd like, 


it may feel like a struggle, and we might find ourselves 


longing for another way, but blessing will come from it.

 


For it's the way God works. 


The "Good" will shine through. 


And we won’t ever be the same again. 


For the person who eventually 


walks out of the storm 


will be different than the one who walked in.



We can be assured, that God's work within us is never for harm, 


but to strengthen us, to build deeper character and faith, 


and to bring us out as "Gold," leaving lasting impressions 


for His glory in this world.



With God in the forefront of our lives nothing can truly harm us, 


but this isn’t a guarantee that we will not experience pain. 


It’s a promise that everything that comes to us, 


including our trials, 


is part of God’s Master Plan.



The truth is, God doesn’t promise certain limits to suffering. 


He doesn’t guarantee personal happiness. 


He doesn’t ensure our escape from pain, 


but He gives us the strength to endure. 



He will never give us more than 


He has equipped us to handle.


God’s people are often crushed beyond measure:


the Bible makes that abundantly clear.


Here are some guarantees God’s Word does give us:



  • Suffering will come, 

  • but we will also share in Christ’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-13).



  • All that happens will be for our good, 

  • to make us more like Jesus 

  • (Rom 8:28-30).


  • Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love 

  • (Rom 8:38-39).


  • God won’t let us be tested – 

  • beyond what we can bear,
  •  
  • but will provide a way for us to endure it 

  • (1 Cor 10:13).


  • God will give us all we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3)

  • In our weakness, He will give us strength 

  • (2 Cor 12:9-10 cf 2 Cor 4:7-12; Phil 4:11-13; Col 1:11-14).


God never promised us this life would be easy, 


but He does promise that 


He is bigger than any storm we face... 


and He's always working for good.


The lessons garnered from all of this:


1. God knows what is in us, and even when others purposefully overlook us… 


God is fully aware of the treasure He placed in us.


We must tune out the inner and outer critics 


and concentrate on mastering our God-given talents and abilities.


No one has the right to re-direct our lives to fit their agenda. 


May we utilize our God given talents and abilities 


and not allow the naysayers to beat us down or break us.


Let us not become guilty of taking what God so graciously 


placed inside of us... to the grave.



2. People are either part of the problem... or part of the solution.



3. We must be careful who we trust. We must tune into our own 


intuitions... turning within 


to see what is true and false in any dynamic. 


We need to trust those who are capable of being trusted. 


We are not obligated to trust those that we love. 


And we are not obligated to trust someone... 


just because other people do. 


We must trust our own gut feelings. 


Trust our ability to see what is happening without denial. 


Trust can be lost within seconds,


takes a lifetime to regain, 


and is never as strong again afterward.



4. Strong people lift others up; it’s beneath their dignity 


to knowingly oppress, suppress, or depress others.



5. When people harshly judge others… 


it is usually something within them… 


that they don’t want to face.

 

When one is a forward-thinker 


and begins to make progressive moves in life... 


some may see it as a threat to their goals and interests.



6. The one who follows the crowd… 


goes no further than the crowd. 


One becomes who they spend time with.



7. If we are under attack, the blessings must be close. 


The vaults are loaded and the thief is dying to rob us. 


When we are betrayed, we must release disappointment at once… 


so the bitterness has no time to take root in us. 


We cannot waste time hoping someone will suffer 


the consequences for what they did to our heart. 


If we don’t let go of the crazy-makers and let God abide... 


it allows them to hurt us a second time in our mind. 


God knows... an God can handle them.



8. When God calls us… He fully equips us. 


We are not expected to be perfect. 


God equips us with everything good for doing His will.


Followers of Jesus have experienced this truth 


through the centuries from the calling of the first disciples. 


The disciples were ordinary people like you and me. 


They were not the most highly educated, charismatic, perfect, 


or influential people of their day. 


They did not hold the highest positions with the best pedigree or 


biographies filled with accomplishments and awards.



Jesus called the ordinary and then did extraordinary things through them. 


He changed the world and continues to change the world!



Without God, I know would fail, miserably. 


I am totally dependent upon God... 


moment by moment to give me what I need 


and equip me to do what He calls me to do.



So, think about it, naysayers,


you also have a calling on your life 


that you may not be able to answer 


because you’re not in your lane. 


If we are not in our lane... 


we may not be able to answer our call.


We will all have to answer.



9. If what we are doing is not fixing or improving the situation then… 


it is time we open our eyes and see that 


we are wasting precious moments of our life 


that we will never be able to recoup.



10. No pressure no diamond. 


Without manure, the plant may suffer and fail to grow.



11. When someone betrays you, 


it is the reflection of their character, 


not yours.


May we always remember and never forget:


Even if our pain is the teacher… 


there lies an opportunity for growth.



12. People may make cutting remarks, make jokes about us, 


gossip about us, dig up bones, or even hate us for being different 


and not following the ways of the world, 


but if the truth be told, 


they would love to have the guts to face their fears, 


dare to fail, and do the same.



13. Some people we need to forgive them in our heart 


and allow them to get off the bus of our life, 


and take all of their toxins with them.



Yes, we have to let go... and allow those who find joy 


in creating pain in our lives... to get off the bus.


Allowing devilish spirits to exit our lives... 


can be the best decision ever. 


Sometimes we have to reward 


loyalty with loyalty… 


and disloyalty with distance.



14. If you have a dream for your life, 


then a crab bucket is no place for you to remain. 


If you feel like you’re suffocating, or have joy and spirit drainers...


it might be time to fight your way out... 


quickly detaching from the toxic bucket of crabs.


If we continue to expose ourselves to infectious dis-eased people


 or toxic situations... we could fall ill or get hurt, yet, again.


15. We must learn to spot the pitfalls that await our spirits 


and avoid them, if possible. 


Let us keep ourselves strong and healthy in Christ 


and help others find the same victory.



I pray that God will open the eyes of our hearts 


so that we will sense the magnitude 


of His plans and purposes for our families. 


May God restore what has long been destroyed 


by the enemy. 



It is time for us to quit pretending everything is fine, in our families, 


and look for and deal with the causes and cures 


for all the hurt, pain, emotional scars, 


and over-all dis-eases within the family.



I love my family because I know 


the Kingdom of God is within them, 


but until they realize and embrace the fact that God is within them... 


I will have to love them from a distance.

 


As I’ve told my older brother on numerous occasions... 


I don’t like what my older sister and younger brother did,


but I don’t hate them. 


Neither do I hate my two brothers 


for shrinking from the truth and abandoning me. 


Hating any of them would be beneath my dignity. 


God knows that, in my heart, I have forgiven all of my siblings 


and wish them no ill will. 



Scripture reminds us:


“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, 


but leave room for God’s wrath, 


for it is written: 


‘It is Mine to avenge; 


I will repay,’ says the Lord.” 


Romans 12:19 



I have come to realize... We are often apprehensive about forgiving 


because we feel that forgiveness means we must once again 


expose ourselves to the same toxic, mean-spirited, 


destructive abusers... and trust them again. 


To the contrary... 


forgiveness does not mean denying reality 


or erasing the bitter past


It does not condone, excuse 


or declare one not guilty of wrongdoing. 


It does not delete the memory 


or mean reconciliation,


but it can create a new way to remember.




Forgiveness is something that takes place 



between the one who has been hurt and God.



Self-righteously announcing 



our gracious forgiveness to someone... 



can be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. 



It is also a form of pride. 



God knows.



Forgiveness is based on grace. 



It is not forgetting or 



pretending it didn't happen. 



Forgiving frees up our power 



and releases us from a painful burden.



Forgiveness heals our soul.

 


It sets our mind and spirit free.

 


Forgiveness opens a pathway 



to a new place of peace. 



Forgiveness may not lead to 



a healed relationship and it does not mean 



what happened was okay 



or we need to welcome the person 



back in our lives. 



Some people, we simply have to... 


let them go. As we grow older 


some of us come to realize... 


what we need in our lives...


and what we need to walk away from.



Forgiveness does not change the past, 


but in forgiving, 


we learn about the heart of God, 


and we can whole-heartedly 


walk in our calling.



Let us remember, hence forth:


Trust is something one must earn. 



Yes, we should be cautious of someone 


who knew we would be hurt... 


and they did it anyway!



15. We must be careful who we vent to and listen to. 


There are some individuals who may be knowledgeable in some areas,  


but they do not know what is best for our soul... God does.


According to Ephesians 2:8, the Scriptures tell us, 


“For by grace we have been saved through faith. 


And this is not our own doing; 


it is the gift of God.”

So, without counting the many trials which are behind us,


let us embrace our scars and allow God to use them 


in the lives of others.


I understand that I cannot save the world, but God can. 


It is a fact that we cannot control what other people do. 


We cannot make someone else act with integrity, 


or make someone else do the right thing, 


and we cannot make someone else be a good person,


but I do believe inspirational seeds of goodness sown 


can serve as a source of Spiritual upliftment 


to help us live a less fretful, a more fruitful, 


a more creative, and all-around improved life.



Sometimes all we need to do is light a candle.



Having a personal realization and relationship with God 


impels me to inspire others, encourage, 


and share His grace with others.



I am not a preacher or teacher, 


but I am willing, immensely honored, and humbled 


when God allows me to equip and point others 


to live a more awakened life by turning back to 


the PERFECT ONE within us Who is majestic, 


perfectly good, just, righteous, without partiality, 


faithful to His promises, intimately aware of all creation, 


and "Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think". 



God is the journey we all yearn to be on. 


I dare not go around and beat anyone down by 


condescendingly quoting scripture 


and trying to be holier than Thou... 


I am humbled by God's willingness to love and forgive 


someone like me, and willing to remind others of 


the Fountain of all good within every one of us... no exceptions.



I am grateful to God that I am blessed to have the liberty 


to share edifying messages that can positively impact 


and uplift lives internally, externally, and eternally.



I have asked myself, “Who is my real support? 


Who has stood by me and continues to do so? 


Who is a positive presence in my life? 


Who has eased my journey?” 


The answer is God. 


God is my healer, 


God makes a way out of no way, 


God loves me, 


God is able to put every effort of the enemy 


to an open shame, 


God knows my needs before I ask,


and when I asked God to forgive me of my sins, 


come into my heart, and be the Lord of my life, 


I became a part of God's family.


Yes... God is. 


God is my Pilot... I am the passenger.

 


With God as our Guide… evil doer’s are spinning their wheels. 


They may have hoards of helpers, 


but... 


one with God is the majority.

 


Life is too short to allow man’s evil words and deeds 


to reside in our mind or spirit. 


We must move past the past 


and keep pressing on to higher ground 


where people are progressive, growing spiritually, 


and trying to do God’s Will.

 


High souls, who are trying to do God's Will, 


would see gossiping and slandering as being petty, 


a waste of precious time, and beneath their dignity.



I know I am far from perfect. 


Actually, no one is perfect – 


apart from Jesus. 


Cultivating a close relationship with God 


does not require one to be perfect.


I can’t and don't intend to deny the reality 


of what God has done in my life. 



When I reflect on my past


 and the many times I made poor choices 


and bad turns… I look and see... 


undeserved grace and mercy... 


all over me. 


When I think about illnesses, prayers answered, 


close calls in traffic, 


and the many storms that we have weathered… 


I see where God’s grace and mercy kept us. 


This is something I could never earn.



When I am reminded of the times I felt like I could not make it... 


or take another step, but somehow I did… some may say it was “Luck”, 


but Believers will say it was 


the power of God’s Divine “Grace” 


that imparted the strength 


to help me endure and get through it.




God’s grace ignites gratitude within me. 


Apart from God...I am nothing. 



I sincerely believe, anything less than full acknowledgement 


of  how powerful God’s love is for us, 


and how He pours out His goodness on us 


like we had never sinned… 


renders one as a total ingrate.



How can one feel justified in praising man, the finite... 


with his limited knowledge and understanding


yet, shrink back and not share 


The Good News about the Creator, 


Who is Infinitely above 


anything and everything, visible and invisible, 


we can attempt to discern or express?

 


All things in Heaven and on earth are under God's  


immeasurable, boundless, immense, endless, 


forever, and Omnipresent authority.




Hebrews 13:16 reminds us...


Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, 


for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 



Many times we want to shine, without the pain and uncertainty 


of what those seasons of pain taught us. 


We long to reflect beauty without the glaring weakness of deep cracks 


that line our stories and fill us with holes. 


We want to cover what was broken and scarred, 


masking the struggles of a past 


that took us down difficult pathways. 


And yet, embracing and sharing the beauty of the broken 


is what enables us to live free... 


with greater purpose, 


changed hearts, and renewed vision.



When we overcome, 


we are able to strengthen others. 


Out of our greatest tests comes our greatest testimony.



Proverbs 3:27 reminds us...


Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due 


when it is in your power to do it. 



Proverbs 11:25 tells us...


Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,

 

and one who waters will himself be watered.



Lifting God’s Name up, and even blogging… being a conduit, 


a vessel for God to use doesn’t require one to be perfect. 



One main command of the gospel is to spread it, 


to tell the Good News!



The Gutenberg Bible contains these words:

 

“God suffers in the multitude of souls 


whom His word cannot reach.”



God’s truth should not be confined or imprisoned. 


Instead, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness 


is the treasure that all of God’s Creation should be exposed to.


Mercy is the way grace in us 


reaches out to others. 


Grace calls us to step out of ourselves. 


Mercy shows us where to go. 



Grace is our primary encounter with God. 


Mercy extends that encounter to others. 


Grace is the presence of God within. 


Mercy is the action of God within.



Let us break the seal which seals up holy things 


and give wings to Truth 


in order that she soars 


and wins every soul 


that comes into the world! 



May God’s truth be multiplied 


and reach souls throughout all of God’s creation.


We can’t open someone’s heart 


to the truth of the Gospel—


but God can.



Sharing our faith isn’t just a suggestion, 


it’s a command. 



For those sitting on the sidelines finding fault… 


The questions become… 


Are you afraid of what others will think of you if you praise God? 


Are you a fresh wind that causes the seed of the Good News to spread,

 

or are you an obstacle that keeps it from moving further and faster?


Being a part of the family of God is the greatest blessing bestowed 

upon believers and one that should drive us to our knees 

in humble adoration. 

We can never do anything to deserve it 

 for it is His gift of love, mercy, and grace to us, 

yet, we are called to become sons and daughters of 

the Living God 


May we choose God over everyone else.


The world, the winds of life, the conflicts, the pressures of life, 


and sometimes our family betrayals, will try to break us, 


but God has a way of taking all of the broken pieces of our lives


 and He uses them to make us more resilient and stronger in Spirit. 



Our present sufferings do not define us.


They are just shards of brokenness that God will use


to lovingly refine our beauty. 



The transformation from broken into beautiful 


is neither easy nor instantaneous. 


It demands a yielded heart and can be quite painful, 


but it comes with great reward. 



Thank You, God, for taking all of our broken pieces...


our scars, rejections, insecurities, betrayals, and failures...


and turning those broken pieces into Your Masterpieces.

God is lavish in His grace, often liberally dispensing His favor 


without even the least bit of cooperation and preparation on our part. 


We can routinely avail ourselves of these revealed paths of blessings, 


or neglect them to our detriment.



Thank You, Father God, for allowing us to keep company with You.


The people who should have been there for us weren't. 


The people who should have cared for us didn't.


God gives us more than we request by going deeper than we ask. 


 He wants not only our whole heart; 


He wants our heart whole. 


God wants to help us and future generations.



Yes, our family history has some sad chapters. 


But our history doesn’t have to be our future. 



The generational garbage 


can stop here and now.


We don’t have to give our children 


and grands what our ancestors gave us.




We must patiently endure and trust God.


God is able. 

 


"All things work together for the good of those 


who love Him, 


who have been called according to His purpose", 


means God's plan will work and... 


no devil in hell will be able to frustrate, 


derail, or prevent God's plan.


Let us not grow weary, the end goal is worth it. 


The process may take a long time, 


a lifetime, or a day. 


We know that all things in Heaven and on earth are under God's authority.


We know that God's plans for us are far superior to our ambitions. 


We know that God has a way of orchestrating a series


 of unlikely events that will work together for our good. 



Our goal is to cultivate, embrace,


 and pass on God's Peace with care, love, and grace...


to the best of our ability.


Yes, it may look as if God’s plan ebbs and flows, 


but the proper process is always progress... 


regardless of what one may see.


In God’s timing... 


His plan will be high tide!




Talking to his brothers, Joseph said, 


As for you, you meant evil against me, 


but God meant it for good, 


to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, 


as they are today.


Genesis 50:20

The Scriptures tell us quite a bit about broken families. 


May we rejoice when our family enjoys God’s blessing. 


May we be sympathetic and empathetic 


when we become aware of brokenness in other families. 



There will be times when we will face brokenness in our own family. 


But we have a God who is also our Heavenly Father, 


and He loves us as a member of His family. 


Our heavenly Father can and does heal families. 


He can turn mourning into dancing; 


He can create praise out of despair. 


He can bind the wounds of the brokenhearted 


and set the captive in darkness free.



God can restore our families and use the tragedies 


that so deeply hurt us...


to move us forward in the purposes for which He created us. 


The future of our families... 


depends on God and God alone.

If things are not going well in your family... don’t give up


God delights in showing His amazing saving power 


through people who have nothing left. 



Regardless of the condition of our families... 


may we always remember and never forget:



God holds our future in His hands.


 


Let us invite God thonor Himself 



throughout our broken families.