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Where to Begin

That was my first thought when I decided to start this series. Where to begin in understanding people that it is almost impossible to wrap your mind around. A type of behavior that makes no sense. God states in the Bible that whatever you pretty much dish out you get back in 10-fold. So, when you are treated a certain way you think to yourself “OK what did I do to deserve this and did I do something to warrant this type of behavior from someone”? I learned over a 20-year span the answer is no, sometimes you have done nothing and it is something within that person. It is dark forces at work that have been allowed access to this person way before you were in the picture.

Toxic people are everywhere it is not something we can avoid. We will run into at least a half a dozen or more in our life time. The key is to know how to deal with these types of people or when to walk away. First, we need to know some characteristics. I am only going to list five.

  1. Deception – this is something you may notice right away or it might be later on. Deception is how they maneuver to gain your trust. We all have had deception at some point in our lives. But these type of people uses it in every aspect of their lives to get what they want. They will use past relationships: a divorce, a break-up, a friend mistreated them, parents were horrible to them, a boss does not like them, a co-worker makes their life a nightmare. The list goes on. It makes no difference to them how long ago it was it can be only yesterday to 50 years ago.  If they can gain sympathy from one incident in their lives they will keep using it. When you grow tired of hearing it they will move on to the next. Toxic people feed off negativity without it, they cannot function. Just think of a vampire that is exactly how these people are. They need to feed to exist. They will latch on to anyone that will accommodate them. 
  2. They are ALWAYS the victim – This continues from number 1. In order to be the victim, they need to deceive others about the situation they are claiming to be a victim of. They will even go as far as being completely clueless and act utterly naive to whatever situation they created. They caused the situation they are in and when confronted they will be the victim. 
  3. They are too eager – Always going out of their way to help. Trust me there is a difference in someone wanting to help and someone being obsessive about it.  Relationships take time to build and an emotionally healthy person recognizes that you need space. They are not over bearing and always seeking you out and hounding you about helping. When you do not oblige them they become agitated. Not understanding or appreciating others feelings and their needs is a huge red flag. Someone like this is going above and beyond to prove they are a good person to show you and others how dedicated and sincere that are. But they are selfish and desire nothing than to place themselves above others. This is not only a selfish person but possibly could be a narcissist. 
  4. They DO NOT let go – Some of us on some sort of level have a hard time letting go of things. But there is a certain level that is just unhealthy. When someone has been divorced for 30 or 50 years and they still are surrounding themselves with ex-in-laws at family holidays this is when it becomes far more than unhealthy it becomes down right disturbing.  Bad things happen to all of us and we all question with the why’s. We go through the normal process of these emotions and move on. Toxic people do not do this they thrive on the drama, negativity, discourse and the division they cause. They relish on the attention they get from it. They complain, rail and moan about their troubles how life has just been so unfair to them. Deep down they love it, and need it. This is the only way they know how to function they manipulate and maneuver their way through life. So why would they want to even learn how to let go of bad things when it is those things that enable them? If they do they have nothing to manipulate others with. They want others to always feel sorry for them this is the only way they think they can get attention or certain things out of people. They choose to be this way.
  5. They’re evasive – Normal people are straight forward most are anyway. When asked a direct question they give a direct answer. Not a toxic person. They have so much they are hiding and harboring they do not even know what the truth is anymore. They have so many things they want to remain hidden they remain evasive or act completely clueless. They will happily lie at will and never bat an eye in the process. Whatever they can do to keep what they are doing hidden they will do it. They want to destabilize you get you from level ground. This gives them the advantage. They tilt, twist, and muddle the truth until no one is sure what is going on. This is how they control the situation. This is to keep you from figuring out the wrong in which they have done or are still doing. This is their way of manipulating situations and they will sabotage anyone that gets in their way. They have no regard for anything when they feel that they are going to be exposed. Evasiveness is just the tip of the iceberg they will go much further and it will get far dirtier. If someone is not being direct with you 9 times out of 10 they are hiding something.

When I started writing these devotionals I did not realize how far I was going to have to go. My husband and I dealt with a toxic person for 20 years. 16 of those 20 years they lived with us. These devotionals will at times become very personal and they will become very in-depth. It will not be a short write up every day. It is imperative and important to me to write these. Because the instant that I discovered I had a problem in my home. I scoured the internet read – reread on the problems I was having with my mother-in-law. Even paid for and sent her to see a therapist. Nothing got better and in time it only got worse. A lot of prayers, and having the foundation of Jesus Christ is the only thing that got my husband and me through. I want all that read these devotionals to know only “ONE” thing you are NOT ALONE. I asked at the beginning where do I begin? How about I rephrase that. Where do “WE” begin? First things first the one thing that was never told to me. You are not alone…

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Our next series of devotionals in August will be on removing toxic people out of your life. As Christians, it is imperative that we show compassion and help others. However, it is not OK to allow toxic people into your life or try to control and manipulate you. 

Join us as we cover this crucial life lesson. 

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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
Before I was born again my life was a complete mess, a complete mess in a sense of "I thought I had it all under control" the deception I had fooled myself into was my worst enemy. I was doing it my way, and if I did it my way it would be right not perfect but right. Do you see how completely utterly ridiculous that sounds? Now it does to me, but at that time in my life it was all I knew and it was the only way I knew how to live.
God literally used the bad in my life to allow me to be broken before I realized this way of living was not only wrong but displeasing to him. In order to be part of His Kingdom, this had to go and it had to go fast. He showed me a better way, a path I have been on for years. It is a path, not all will stay on sadly and it is a path that is not easy to walk. I will not sugar coat it, it is hard. It requires faith in Him and without that faith, you will veer off.

I have been riding horses since I was 3 years old, and one thing I have learned is that if a horse will not yield to its master to obey his command whether it is a nudge to get him to move or pulling back on the reins to stop. It is not a horse worth riding it is not useful or enjoyable. Think about it before a horse can be useful to its owner, it has to be broken. An unbroken stallion is proud and strong. It will not allow you anywhere near it and let no one ride it. My brother had the privilege one time to climb on the back of a beautiful paint stallion. The horse bucked, kicked, even took him into the woods to use the branches to get my brother off his back. The horse was stubborn, difficult, bucked, kicked, reared up, but my brother stayed on and in the end, my brother finally broke him. After that, you could not have had asked for a more faithful riding horse. Why did it behave like this? Because it did not want to be broken. It fought and fought till it had to give into the will of it's master.

Sometimes we have that same stubborn, rebellious, self-sufficient spirit within us, and God often breaks those attitudes because they keep us from experiencing true intimacy with Him. Have you ever been broken? Can you say you are obedient to God? Before you answer think about your walk with him and think real long and hard and ask yourself have you been broken?
Brokenness is empty-handedness before God. It makes no demands. It is falling into the embrace of your loving Father and finding Him to be enough. It says not only “God, I need You,” but “God, You are all I need.” Until you allow yourself to be broken and allow God tear down all that is hindering you in your relationship with him.

What are some of the things God breaks? Here are some of the big ones:

Stubbornness. “I am going to do this my way.” If you are one of God’s children, that attitude is on its way out. You can fight with Him for a long time if you want, but your stubbornness will eventually be broken.

Pride. “I know better; I am better.” God hates pride in the hearts of His children. He hates it in my heart; He hates it in yours. People who have been greatly used by God have come to grips with the need to dispense with all pride and to humble themselves.

Willfulness. “You can’t make me! You can’t tell me! I’ll do what I want when I want.” That’s willfulness, and it is also on its way out. God will use whatever He has to use to remove it from your heart and life.

Independence. “I can make it without You.” Nothing will inhibit your intimacy with the Father like an attitude of self-sufficiency. Recognize your weakness and rely on His strength.

God will use broken health, careers, dreams, relationships, promises, and hearts to rid our lives of the things that hinder intimacy with Him. Some say a loving God wouldn’t allow pain, but God’s love is not a pampering love; it’s a perfecting love. God is producing something in us the likeness of His Son and He is going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. You might want to get off the program. But any other path will lead you to a place you don’t want to be or you will fool yourself into many years of deception that you have it all under control. Even though your life is a complete utter mess, you are doing it your way and that is all that matters. 

You will never experience true intimacy with God until you are able to come before Him in genuine humility, utterly desperate for Him. Face it just like my brother on that beautiful paint stallion you too need to be broken. Pride and thinking you are "fine" and you can handle it all on your own. Will hinder your relationship with all around you most of all it will hinder you in your spiritual growth and your relationship with your Father. You will never fully experience the life he has for you until you do. What is really sad, is you will never ever experience a close relationship with Jesus.

I will confess to each and every one of you and anyone else that crosses my path in my life and I am not ashamed to admit it, I found God not in happiness nor in contentment, nor in doing it my way. I found him in sorrow, pain, desperation.  I found God when I was broken.

Lord, I confess that I am naturally proud, stubborn, willful, and prone to believe I’m self-sufficient. I confess that I resist the thought of being broken, but I believe that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Please help me to let go and allow You to have Your way in my life. Thank You that the more I surrender to You, the more intimacy I can have with You. God, you are all I need. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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How many times have we heard another Christian shout; What an AWESOME God we serve. But how many of us can honestly say we have experienced an AWESOME God?

The one thing I know about God is that He has a way of surprising you it is in such a gentle way. When you realize it I know for me it is like my breath is taken away for a moment. There is only one other being in this world that can do that to me and that is my husband. God’s way is different when you connect the dots it is truly, truly, an amazing revelation! There is one vital thing we need to understand and that is God’s way is supernatural. When he speaks, it is nowhere near like man. When it happens, you are moved beyond tears. It is a moment that is a reflection you reflect not on the world or the issue at hand you reflect on His word and you realize He is speaking directly to you. In my previous devotional, I stated this:

So, faith is a gift from God that we receive the word of Christ, which in this dispensation we get from the Bible rather than from a burning bush. So, in His time, He will give faith to us as needed from the word of the Bible. In 2 Cor 10:15 we see that faith can grow, so as we study the Bible God can add to our faith.

Now keep in mind this devotional was written 2 years ago I think I know it has been awhile. I have been taking a break from our series on righteousness the past week. For the last week, I have been praying for my family I have been praying for direction and the choices and changes my husband and I are making. That they are the best for our family most of all that we are staying in the will of God for our lives. Only a few that are close to us know the situation in depth what has transpired in the past few months. As I was browsing the internet this scripture came across my screen just last week.

For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right. And patiently endure unfair treatment. 1 Peter 2:19

God sees all and knows all. He is not blind and never turns a blind eye to what happens or what is happening to you. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. While others may try, and paint you as something else to man. They will never be able to do that with God. He knows the truth.

As I read this scripture I sighed last week. I found hope and God allotted me faith just when I needed it most. A simple reminder “HEY Shannon, you have done nothing wrong you and Kevin were doing what was right. Now, my child patiently endure this unfair treatment blessing are going to flow from my throne.” It was not until I sent out this older devotional yesterday that I realized just how supernatural it was for me and how directly he was speaking to me. You may not be feeling the connection but I very much do. How He speaks to you maybe different with someone else. God speaks to us on so many levels but when he does and I can speak from experience. The most powerful are when it is subtle like a feather that brushes across your cheek. It may be done quietly but the words are loud and very clear. You cannot mistake the voice of God. You just cannot you know when His voice is subtle but it rushes over you like ocean waves pounding at the shore.

Jesus stated: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.

So, my little sheep are you hearing the voice of God? Are you thinking He will speak like a man or are you hearing him through His most beautiful word that is ALIVE? I am here today to tell you LISTEN, stop, pray, wait patiently, let him speak volumes to you. Then the next time someone says, “What an AWESOME God we serve.” It will mean more to you than just a statement. You can in the humblest way shake your head and agree and say “yes” I have experienced and served the Spirit of a HOLY God.