John 8:36 (NKJV) – “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.   

Welcome to Straight Talk with Trina, I’m thankful that I have this opportunity to pour into your life.  I pray that what is written here will cause you to be free to love and become what God has created you to be.

~Trina

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IN THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE

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The struggles of life all around us can easily become overwhelming. It seems at times there is nothing but bad news. That may have been how the Israelites felt in slavery to the Egyptians and in their journey to the Promised Land. There were challenges and difficulties at every turn. It may be how you are feeling about your world as well.

When Moses and Aaron first went to Pharaoh to tell him God says to let His people go, he made things harder on all the Israelites who were making bricks for him, making them find their own straw each day. Then the leaders turned against Moses and Aaron, and they in turn questioned God – whether God was keeping His promises to deliver Israel. And even after God sent ten miraculous plagues on Egypt for all to see His power and did deliver His people from Egypt, the people continued to grumble each time a new problem arose and repeatedly turned against Moses and Aaron for leading them out of Egypt. God continued to be patient with them and show them miracle after miracle providing for all their needs. But they kept on being obstinate and disobedient and fearful, constantly complaining about their living conditions. (Exodus)

This account and “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) What we learn from them is that the true struggle is not with external people and circumstances but the fight of our lives occurs within us.  The real struggle is to trust God completely, every moment of every day, come what may. The problems the Israelites faced were not really physical ones, but problems believing God. They failed to understand the significance of the miraculous power God displayed before them. They didn’t let it reach to and change their hearts toward God and toward life. They continued in their old fleshly ways of thinking and feeling and behaving.  The result for them was they missed out on the blessings God had planned for their lives.  Only their children ended up entering the Promised Land. They spent their lives wandering around in the wilderness forty years because of their bad attitudes and refusal to trust and submit to God until that whole generation died… except for Joshua and Caleb who chose to trust God and obey His voice when everyone else was going the other way. We are often going to find the same – that we are in the minority when it comes to trusting God and obeying His Word. Are we prepared to stand alone when necessary?

Do you know your enemies? They are the world, the flesh and the devil.

“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)  Are you allowing any of the past or present influences in your world to control you?

“The mind set on the flesh is death … is hostile to God….Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6-8) “Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” (Colossians 3:5-9)

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”(1 Peter 5:8-9) “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”(1 Jn. 3:8)

Do you know your battlefields? They are your mind, your attitudes and desires, and your behaviors – your habits in words and deeds.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) “Whatever is true,…honest,…just,…pure,…lovely,…admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:…He humbled Himself and became obedient…” (Philippians 2:5-8)

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36) “Whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)

Do you know your weapons? They are the Holy Spirit within you, the Word of God, prayer, and faith.

“…Be continually filled with the Spirit.” “ So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh.” (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”     (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “Take… the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but pray about everything…and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:6-8)

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16) “And without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Do you know when you are being victorious in the fight? When you are displaying the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), humility before God and men (James 4:6-10), and contentment (Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Colossians 3:15-17).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

So the real fight of my life is within me – to keep trusting and depending on God no matter what the people around me do or don’t do, and no matter what happens in this fallen world. It is the good fight. Do not give up or give in! In the end, we will be rewarded by our Lord.

 


About the Author:

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Steven Armstrong M.A.C., M.Div., L.P.C.

Steven is a Licensed Counselor at Rapha Christian Counseling.  Steven Armstrong brings giftedness and experience as well as scriptural and psychological insights to help individuals, couples, and families. He has the experience to help with various forms of relational struggles and personal brokenness. Steven sees every person as a creation of God with immeasurable value and eternal worth. He extends to all the unconditional love and mercy God has shown him. His caring sensitivity and genuine acceptance provide a safe place for clients to share their thoughts and feelings, enter into the healing process, and receive assistance in adjusting to life transitions. Steven’s greatest joy is to see people experience God’s transforming love and healing grace!

Steven has a Master’s degree in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His undergraduate degree includes concentrations in psychology, Biblical studies, and music. Steve is licensed as a professional counselor (L.P.C.). As a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Steven receives updates on ongoing training opportunities and the latest counseling resources available from a Christian perspective.

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ME!

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The quiet moment when you’re standing in the mirror, checking out yourself, wondering am I beautiful, am I skinny and am I enough for the man I’m with?  Out comes a sigh and then an hmmm…resounding in your mind.  You turn sideways looking in that same mirror at the stretch marks from gain weight, losing weight or having your babies. Rubbing your hands across your stomach while sucking it in to see how far you can hold it in, holding your arms up like a champ, but realizing the flab that hangs…out comes another sigh followed by an hmmm resonating in your mind again.

You see, the word of God says, we are made in the image and likeness of God and we are fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works. Why is it that, we see ourselves fat, ugly, missing something here and there, not accepting compliments, always doubtful of it and never being satisfied with what our Father God says about us. Instead, we turn on the television and begin to compare ourselves with singers, actors, performers, etc…we don’t have to, but we do.

Where does those insecurities come from? Maybe from a bad relationship/marriage, being molested, being bullied, parentless or never been told that you are beautiful and loved. Some of these things happened to me and I found myself losing control over my mind, not feeling good in my own body and not feeling beautiful most of the time.  I even tried to take my life a few times, because I felt worthless and “an accident” on this earth. Then…God!

God began to remind me of the BLOOD, that it still works and there’s forgiveness, healing, restoration, peace and love in the Blood!!  I began to take back control of my mind, my life, my body and ME!!  I began to read the Word and find out what my Father thinks and says about me…Yes me, His daughter Trina!!

I’m here today, because of Him.  I stand today, to tell you to stop comparing yourself to others, stop trying to fit into every circle you see and wearing things that don’t make you…You! Be YOU!  Take back control over your life and start living for GOD and for yourself, even if you have to walk alone, nothing is worth losing YOU!

Trina

  • Here is a song I found just for you…Enjoy!

Hurt Behind the Scars

HURTEvery scar I have on my body tells a little about who I am and what I’ve gone through, throughout my life. You might not understand it, but if you look over your own body I’m sure there’s a story of how and when your scars occurred.  Those are the scars that are seen.  Now, what about the scars that aren’t seen; the ones that you’re too embarrassed to talk about? The ones you are still hurting from or afraid of.  The ones you will not let anyone know how painful that hurt is behind the scar.

 

  • I didn’t want to be touched in that way, but I couldn’t stop it. My mouth was open… screaming, but no one could hear me say…Stop! That hurts!  ABUSED!

 

  • I wondered why I wasn’t raised with my siblings…what was wrong with me?  Was I not pretty enough?  Did I do something wrong?  That hurts! REJECTED!

 

  • When I was young, wanting to feel a part of my family and friends…I never could, because I was either talked about or made fun of.  That hurt! OSTRACIZED!

 

  • I remember walking in the backyard and stepping on a nail. Ouch! That hurt!   NEGLIGENT!

 

  • My failure, being made a public spectacle…Ouch! That hurt!  EXPOSED!

 

These are a few examples of areas in my life that have produced my scars; that I have never told anyone…hmmm, and its ok!  The fact that I’m writing about them tells me, that I am experiencing healing in those areas.  I thought keeping them to myself was the best thing.  I have learned that as I begin to deal with the hurt behind the scars, God begins to manifest His healing and wholeness within me; empowering me to share my life with you.  As I reflect, I can’t help but wonder how many people fail to deal with the hurt behind their scars.  Hidden behind the closed doors, hoping no one knocks causing them to open that door.  You don’t have to hide it anymore.  You can talk about it! You can have closure!  You can be healed!  You can be whole again!  God has the power and the will to do it.

There is a worship song that comes to mind; it says…“I am the God that healeth thee, I am the Lord your healer, I sent my Word and healed your disease, I am the Lord your healer.”

HURT2God never fails to remind me over and over that everything I’ve gone through from a child to adulthood was to help someone else; someone that may be afraid to face the hurt behind their scars.  Don’t allow the enemy to shut your mouth or keep you shackled and afraid.  Face your hurt and let your voice be heard, you may be screaming, and think no one is listening.  God is!  He hears you and is standing there with both arms open to hold you and remind you that “it will be OK!” Allow God to begin His healing in you. You never know how He plans to use you to be that listening ear, that shoulder, that confidant for some man, woman, boy or girl; to become the catalyst for which he uses to bring healing and wholeness into their lives.

 

Trina

AM I WRONG FOR MOVING ON?

Moving OnWhy am I wrong for moving on with my life?

I took the time necessary for me to move forward. Why should I be bound to what you think about me, after all I have been through?  I was down so low that the only way out was up.  I went to counseling session, to deal with all the pain and abuse I endured.  I didn’t realize how bad you hurt me, until I had to deal with “ME”.  The compounded pain, hidden deep within overwhelmed me.  I was beaten by your words and raped by your insults.  Being touched, by unwanted hands scarred me; scarred me with memories that played on my eyelids, every time I slept.  So, why am I wrong for moving on?

I had too!  It was necessary for me.  If I had stayed, I would be living in the pain that has caused me so much pain; instead of, regurgitating the memories and indulging in the emotions tied to the pain I suffered.  My heart could not take it anymore.  I am sorry if you have not accepted it, but I have.  That is the only way I could have moved on.   The move was good for me.  I am becoming whole and healthy.  The more I work on me, the more areas of my pain are becoming evident and I am taking the time to deal with each area, so that my healing can be complete.   Now I can love ME Again.  Now I can love Again.

Let me just clarify this, by me moving does not mean you were a bad person, it just means that you were bad for me.  Now as I look back, all I can say is Thank You Lord for how much healing you have poured in me.  I am “me” again, free, healed and whole.  What God is doing in me, I have never experienced.  He is birthing purpose and the drive to pursue it, daily. Now tell me, why am I wrong for moving on?

You have that option also.  Except you choose to stay where you are, inspecting my life and criticizing my advances, because I chose to run to God instead.   Why haven’t you moved on? Why is my life so important that you have to use it as an example of injustice?  Instead of criticizing it, why don’t you use it to let you know, you need to let the past be the past and work on you.  Look at yourself!  Talk about your issues!  Where you are, is like sitting in stagnate water.  The stench is unbearable.  Why don’t you seek the One who can give you a fresh “well of water, springing up” (John 4:14). He helped me and He can help you.  Try Him…His name is Jesus!

He is the Living Word! The Lively Stone!  He is the rock that the builder rejected that is now made the chief cornerstone.  He is the bread of life, the Rock of Ages. He is the Lamb of God that came to take away the sins of the world.  He is the resurrected Savior that declares to you…

John 11:25 – “… I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”

This is the promise He has for you.  He wants you to live.  If you believe in Him, He will resurrect the dead areas of your life, enabling you to live again.  Live, your life depends on it!  Live, your family depends on it!  Live, your purpose needs you!  Live, your Freedom awaits YOU!

Am I Safe with YOU?

 

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Am I safe with you when I allow you in my world, that you won’t turn against me and hurt me? 

Am I safe with You?

Am I safe with you, if one day it finally hits you that we are no more; you won’t be angry enough to take my life, or my children’s lives?

Am I safe with You?

Am I safe with you, when we both decide to walk away, for the better of each other; that when you see me with someone else, you won’t stalk me, Bad talk me or threaten my life?

Am I safe with You?

Do you have things in your past, that if triggered; my life would be in danger?

Am I safe with You?

When I decide to become intimate with you, that after it’s all over, you won’t walk out on me?

Am I safe with You?

When I invite you over for dinner, that if at the end of the night, there is only a Good Night?

Am I safe with You?

That if I find out something about your past life, and decide to talk with you about; you won’t shut the door in my face?

Am I safe with You?

When we both are being transparent about our interest in life, that you won’t devalue mine?

Am I safe with You?

When I tell you that I desire to further my education, that you won’t belittle me and tell me “I can’t do It” or better yet, “I won’t have your support”

Am I safe with You?

When I say “NO”, “stop”, “don’t do that”…Will you force me to?

Am I safe with You?

When I open my heart to love, that you won’t take it for granted?

Am I safe with You?

When I begin to cry, you won’t think I’m weak?

Am I safe with You?

That when I hurt you, that you won’t forgive me? 

Am I safe with You?

 

Can you feel me My Sisters?

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!

It has a different meaning to all of us.  In the United States we are fortunate to have a national holiday set aside, specifically for the occasion.   Originally an idea derived from Native and European tradition, the United States and Canada are the only countries where Thanksgiving is actually a holiday.

Despite the common belief that Thanksgiving was a celebratory event that followed “harvest” season, the origin is more accurately associated with survival – that is, having survived a long journey of storms, icebergs, and the tumultuous seas, which the seagoing explorers experienced attempting to find a northern passage through the Pacific Ocean.

Whatever brought upon the reason for the celebration from a historical standpoint should matter little to us today.  What should matter most is that all of us – anyone living and breathing at this moment – has more than a few things to be thankful for today.  Today and every day.

– According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are more than 12,000 disease categories known to science.

– On average, there are more than 6,000,000 auto accidents in the United States alone every year.

– The data is not in for 2011 yet, but there were more than 1,000,000 foreclosures in 2010.  More than 1,000,000 families in just one year experience the loss of what is traditionally associated with as the symbol of the “American Dream.”

– There are 25,000,000+ unemployed in the U.S. as of this month.

– Almost 50,000,000 U.S. Citizens are recipients of Food Stamps.

– Nearly 500,000 people – men, women, and children living in the U.S. are living with HIV flowing in their blood stream.

You get the picture.

I walked out onto my balcony last night, when it was around 40 degrees, just outside of Dallas.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “…this is what more than 5,000 people in the Dallas area will deal with tonight, until the sun comes up tomorrow morning and the temperature (hopefully) begins to rise.”  It’s cold outside this time of year.  I am privileged to be in inside.

Be thankful!

More than likely, someone that you know – or maybe even you – is just one “notice” away from having their heat cut off.  One or two weeks away from getting their “pink slip” at their job.  Maybe your best friend won’t finish out the year, spending the holidays with their family because their on the brink of divorce.   A cancer diagnosis can change the moral of a family in a split-second.

6 people boarded a plane this morning, not knowing that their last Thanksgiving with their family was a year ago today.  They all perished when their plane hit the side of a mountain in Arizona.

Be thankful!

Life is a vapor.  Here today, and gone at any moment.

If you have use of your hands and feet; if you are able to get a full night’s sleep; if you receive income, whether weekly, bi monthly or monthly; if you enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with your family and friends today, or just one person; if you wake up every morning without having experienced a terrorist attack on your native soil; if you have a loved one who returned unharmed from War; if you had the privilege of turning on the water faucet today; if you’ve lived another day to love another person… be thankful.

Every second you feel the oxygen fill up your lung cavity is God’s way of nudging you…”You’re alive!”

With so much to be thankful for, there is so little to complain about.

Be thankful!