What Genesis Tells Us About Marriage

Genesis describes the first man, woman, and marriage. This first book of the Bible also provides insights into God’s original design of marriage as well as helps explain why many of today’s marriage fall short of God’s plan. The challenges and troubles in current marriages are easily explained by the consequences set forth by the bite of forbidden fruit.

God’s Design of Man and Woman

In Genesis 1:26 (NIV), “Then God said, ‘Let us make man [mankind, human] in our image…let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth…” “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, NIV). These Scriptures show that in the beginning both man and woman were made in the image of God with neither one or the other above or below each other.

God first created woman from Adam’s rib. She was part of Adam’s DNA: bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23). This description gives deep understanding why a man will leave his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Before the Fall husband and wife were equal but different with neither one more superior than the other. You could infer that Adam and his wife lived in paradise and had the perfect marriage. And then crawled the serpent through the Garden of Eden playing head games with the woman.

Sin Changed Marriage

….and not for the better. The one bite of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil changed marriage from that moment on. When Adam and the woman disobeyed God of their own free will, they had to pay a price for their sinful choice. What was their punishment?

In Genesis 3:16, “To the woman [God] said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with the pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”

Woman’s consequence for her free will behavior was to be lorded over by her husband. She lost her status as an equal to husband. Why is it important to understand the penalty? Because today many marriages suffer, when husbands lord over their wives, a direct result of Adam’s and Eve’s sins. Remember, this was not God’s design of the perfect marriage.

Why Woman Became Known as Eve

Up until the Fall, God refers to the first woman as “wife” or “woman”. She doesn’t get her name until God says that Adam would rule over her, so “Adam named his wife Eve” (Genesis 3:28, NIV). This was the same instructions that God gave Adam when He gave Adam dominion over all living things (Genesis 2:19). Where once Adam and Eve were co-managers of the Garden of Eden, now Adam ruled over Eve. And it didn’t end with the first couple. They set in motion the same sinful outcome for generations.

Marriage Message for Our Time

Many wonder why there’s so much inequity between men and women in general, and even in marriages?  Christian marriages no less. The simple answer is the consequence of sin in the Garden of Eden has propagated through family legacies.

God didn’t design marriage for the husband to rule over his wife, yet the Fall explains the fight that started with the first bite of the forbidden fruit. As Christians we should know what God’s design for marriage truly is and to fight to live it out in our own marriages. Are you treating each other as equals? If not, you have knowledge and free will do choose better for your marriage.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

If You Don’t Know Genesis, I Doubt You Know My God

The God that breathed out stars is the same God that created you. Before you were ever born, books were written in the heavens about you and your purpose (Palms 139:16). God has a plan for your life. Will you choose to live out God’s design for your life through obedience or exercise your free will?

Why it’s important to understand Genesis?

Genesis has powerful messages through the stories lived by the founding families of this earth. Their life lessons are taught in our classroom, where we can learn more about our God of yesterday, today, and the future, as we build our personal relationship with Him. In Genesis we:

  • Learn of the power and glory of God
  • Understand the catalyst (The Fall) that continues to cause pain and suffering in God’s children
  • Provides hope and assurance that we can be reconciled with the God who created each one of us in His image

If you don’t get the lessons in Genesis, you’ll likely question why you struggle so much, wonder why you’re “here”, and feel a level of emptiness in your life. Truly, how fulfilled is your soul?

What does Genesis reveal?

God is always talking to us regardless of whether we choose to listen. He is a good, good Father.

  • God gives us free will. He doesn’t demand our obedience but allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices.
  • God desires obedience which is the highest form of love, praise, and worship. Whether we realize it or not, He is the Father that knows best.
  • God still loves us even when sin. After Adam and Eve took a bite of the apple from Tree of Good and Evil, God was creating a plan to reconcile humanity to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Not only are we living with our own sin from personal choices, we’re also suffering with the generational sin we inherited.

I may understand Genesis more than most, because obedience is one of my core values. Some have the illusion that freedom is doing what you want. God says freedom comes from obedience to Him and knowing what not to do. Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit although everything else in the Garden was hers for the taking. How often is your attention drawn away from the much that you have toward the little that you don’t?

What are the life truths from Genesis?

If you’ve spent time in Genesis, you may have some of your own truths that God whispered to you. Messages that resonate with me include:

  • God is faithful to those who obey Him.
  • God does not always protect us from trouble but deeply cares for us, never leaves us through our suffering, and can make good from our bad choices.
  • Obedience is a committed walk with the Lord, but the world will try and pull you away toward the pleasure of sin.
  • You may be faithful and obedient, but you will never be perfect. Our sinful nature is always carried with us.

I encourage you to read The Book of Genesis and pull out the voice of God that is talking to you through His Word.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

How You Can Steward God’s Money Better

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Your Money? God’s Money? Whose Money Is It? and How Well Do You Steward God’s Money? framed a Biblical worldview of money and provided an opportunity for self-assessment against that standard. Living in the “of the world” can make it difficult to have clarity on money ownership, and at times, it can be painful to be honest about our short-comings. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of wasting time ruminating on what you should have done in the past, decide what steps you can take to move forward.

“Money makes a terrible master but is a good servant to those who are God’s money masters.” — Sandra Dillon

Although your next moves should be prayerfully God-inspired, if you have difficulty hearing God’s voice, below are a few suggestions to consider:

  1. Spend time with God daily asking for His guidance on how to steward His money?
  2. Research and pray on Biblical Scripture that speaks to money and its stewardship? What ideas come to mind?
  3. Commit to giving at least a tithe (10%) of your income for service.
  4. Research and commit to giving at least a tithe of your time to service in a ministry that speaks to your heart and talents.
  5. Track where the money you have access to “comes and goes” (income and expenses) over 3 months. When you take an honest look at the numbers, are you honoring God with your decisions? Are you living beyond your means or extravagantly within your means?
  6. What can you give up to demonstrate that you have self-control and discipline when it comes to money management?
  7. If your income was reduced overnight by 25% and you couldn’t go further into debt to fund your lifestyle, what cuts would you make to your expenses? After completing this exercise, why not do it and see how you can successfully live on less? Then give away the rest in a way that multiples the gift.

“Be content with what you have, learn to live on nothing, so you can live on everything.” — Sandra Dillon

Materialism, not money, brings anxiety and worry. Do I have enough? It creates independence and self-sufficiency which creates a degree of separation from God. When we depend on ourselves, we need less of God. And materialism leads to pride and elitism reflected in thoughts such as “I have more, therefore, I’m better than others.”

“Materialism blinds us to our spiritual poverty. Those that love money will never have enough.” — Sandra Dillon

Remember that God’s money is under your management. Are you a good money manager? Or are you storing up treasures on earth when you should be focused on heaven. Because it’s so easy for those of us in developed nations to suffer from affluence, have a distorted relationship with money, and a separation from God, we should do a yearly check-up. Check your money worldview, do a self-assessment, and then make the necessary changes that help you put some “Kingdom currency” in your heavenly bank account based on your money decisions on earth.

Do you want to be known as the richest person in the cemetery or the richest soul in God’s Kingdom. Make some decisions now that provide a bit of personal suffering. You’ll survive, and I guarantee you will strengthen, build resilience, and others will be inspired by watching God work through you. God will reward you for blessing those who could not repay you.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

How Well Do You Steward God’s Money?

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

In God’s Money, Whose Money Is It? the case was made that all money is God’s money. If true, you don’t own money and possessions; instead, you have full responsibility for their stewardship. What grade would you give your money stewardship? How satisfied are you with your money decisions and behaviors?

Ask God what He would have you do with your money and possessions.

Stewarding God’s money is a life-calling and managing it requires intentional and prayerful daily decisions and actions. If you’re looking for some help, identify those areas you’re doing well and those that could use some improvement. Grade your agreement with the following questions on a scale of 1-10, with 1 as highly disagree and 10 as highly agree.

  • My personal value and self-worth/identity increases with the more money I make or have.
  • When I think about prosperity, I think of money.
  • I enjoy showing off the things that I have.
  • I worry and have anxiety about having enough money.
  • I feel that I don’t have enough money.
  • I consider myself an independent person.

The higher your score in these first 6 questions, the more risk you have that your mindset is not aligned with God’s. Continue with these next 6 questions using the same grade scale.

  • I have learned to live on what I make. I am debt free.
  • I am comfortable living on less so that others could have more.
  • I give when the receiver has no ability to repay me in any way.
  • I share the Gospel when I give of my money. I tie my giving with the blessing of the Good News.
  • I prayerfully seek God’s counsel in how to serve and give of my resources
  • I walk in my God-give purpose

Materialism is money-centered, not God-centered. It loves things and uses people.

The higher your score in this second set of “behavior” questions, the more likely you’ll be aligned with storing treasures in heaven and not earth. Kingdom currency is the only currency in heaven: not US dollars, Euros, or Bitcoin. Downsizing your earthly Kingdom is required to upsize the eternal Kingdom. Those who steward God’s money well are those who can live on nothing as well as everything.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Your Money? God’s Money? Whose Money Is It?

Part 1 of 3-Part Series

Religion, politics, sex, and money are topics many people feel uncomfortable discussing. Conversations may get more difficult, even polarized when mixed, such as Christians and their money. Discussing money can become so anxiety-ridden that some pastors quake in their shoes when asked to preach on the tithe. Perhaps Jesus talked about money in 11 of the 39 parables and it’s referenced in some way in one out of seven verses because we need to hear the Godly worldview that fights against those who’ve turned money into an idol.

As a Christian who lives in the United States, I confidently estimate that I have more money than most Christians around the world. I say that, because I’ve walked the neighborhood slums in Africa, Latin America, and South America, conversing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see the material poverty, I thank God for what I have and feel a heavy burden to use my resources to facilitate the Kingdom on earth.

Every Christian has a relationship with money? Every Christian should have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian should be asking themselves, “How does God want me to use the money I have for Kingdom work?”

Your Money?

How do you refer to money? Is it your money? God’s money? Or somewhere in between? I know many Christians who say that the money they earn is 90% theirs and the tithe is God’s. On top of that there’s debate whether the 10% is before or after taxes and whether a tithe is for the church or can be portioned out for God’s ministry. The pulpit then encourages Christians to pray whether they should give more than the tithe for special gifts.

Some Christians, who don’t want to give of their money, have convinced themselves that tithing doesn’t apply today. The New Testament doesn’t talk about the tithe and was a law of the Old Testament. The new has made the old null and void. Christians have all kinds of excuses not to tithe: they can’t afford it, they don’t have a church home to give it, and they give of their time instead. What they’re ultimately saying is that it’s their money, and they’ll decide how to spend it or give it away. Many Christians’ relationship with money has become so distorted that even when they marry and “…they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8 NIV), spouses still separately control the money they earn.

God’s Money?

God made man, man made money, so the argument can be made that all money is God’s money. God owns all that man has created on earth. Money itself is not evil, but God is concerned with the relationship that man has with his money. Based on how people handle their money and are consumed with thoughts about it, money has become an idol for many and a priority above a relationship with God. It is the LOVE OF MONEY, not money itself, that separates us from God. Money is only a tool and not evil in itself.

If it was your money, you’d be able to take it with you when you leave this earth, but you can’t. One day money will be useless to you. When you put your relationship with God first, there’s no way you couldn’t believe that all money is God’s and want to pray in how to use it for His glory.

All money has to be God’s money, because if you don’t view it as such, you’ll think your wealth was of your own doing and perhaps you’d internalize that you’re a bit god-like in your own right. You’d might also believe that those who didn’t have money were less than or not deserving. Do you think even a little less of people who live in material poverty? Some of the poorest Christians I’ve met had the closest relationship with God, because they had to rely on God for their provision.

God tests us in how we handle money to determine our trustworthiness in dealing with others. You’re just the steward of His money while you live on earth. You’ll be judged in your faithfulness, industrialness, and wisdom of money invested in God’s Kingdom. Because it is God’s money: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT).

Whose Money Is It?

What’s your relationship with money? Most Christians never examine their relationship with money, perhaps out of ignorance or fear in dealing with the big question. What’s your reason? Whichever it is, it’s in the past. Step into the future and start to ask yourself the tough question, because I can guarantee you that no one else is going to ask you.

Where will God fit into the picture? God wants to be above your money. Your relationship with money can put a level of separation with God. Once you decide that this is God’s money and you’re just a steward of it while on earth, your whole worldview will change and for the better. You will have freedom in spirit in ways you could never imagine.

There’s a difference between ownership and stewardship. You are a trustee of God’s living trust. How are you managing God’s money for the Kingdom? In some ways your money stewardship should be your life calling. If you’re committed to stewarding money God’s way, stay tuned for Part 2.

Scriptures to Pray On

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, NIV)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV)

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5, NLT)

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NLT)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT)

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops (Proverbs 3:9, NLT)

Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT)


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How I Forgave and Found Freedom

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Why Forgive and How to Forgive provide the foundation to build our stories of forgiveness. My prayer for you is that you find peace in your self-gift of forgiveness toward another person regardless of how severe the sin. I know people who have horrendous stories that include mutilation, sex abuse, abandonment, and even murder. Although my own personal history touches on some of these and the process of forgiveness, I share my story of freedom that started in November 2010, when I met my current husband over breakfast after his mother connected us through Match.com. That, in itself, is its own crazy God story.

My Story

Darin and I became fast friends, keeping it friendly, after I learned over our first breakfast that he was separated, living on his own, and a few months from finalizing his divorce. He had two daughters, one 19 years who was already away at college and the other, 13-year old Sarah*, who primarily lived with her mother.

We kept a low public profile in friendship, even when the relationship eventually turned to dating. Unfortunately, Darin’s ex-wife struggled with mental health issues which spilled over into her sharing raging falsehoods about Darin and me to Sarah and anyone else who would listen. Darin was forced to create two separate lives in order to enjoy the company of two important women in his life. Well after the divorce Sarah still refused to meet me.

Darin continually encouraged Sarah to meet me since he knew at some point our courtship would lead to marriage. She in return refused with no explanation. Darin’s bribery and cajoling had no influence in changing Sarah’s mind. I occasionally wrote letters of encouragement and among other points let her know she was always welcome. I didn’t want her to feel reluctant in reaching out in the future, because she felt embarrassed by her past behavior.

Eventually, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and Darin and I believed God brought us together for Kingdom work on earth. Our relationship strengthened in love and mission while Sarah continued to dig in her heels—refusing to meet me. As time passed, I can honestly admit I increasingly felt frustrated and disrespected as well as developed ill feelings toward Sarah as well as her mother who had contributed in creating this sour situation.

After 2 years, Darin told Sarah he was going to propose marriage by the next time she saw him. At the time Darin didn’t know that this would be the last day Sarah chose to see her father for several years. I felt more hurt and disrespected which was magnified by the pain I saw in Darin as he struggled with his daughter’s choice. It’s been 10 years since Darin and I met, and I have yet to have a conversation with Sarah.

By the eighth year, I was angry at Sarah—to the point that I hoped she never took me up on my open-door offer. My heart was hardened, I didn’t feel generous in spirit, and I admit that unforgiveness getting a foothold. I didn’t wish her harm in any way, but neither did I wish good things for her. That was the ugly truth. My natural heart is always wanting the best for people—afterall, that’s why I became a life coach. I didn’t like the way my unforgiving thoughts made me feel about myself.

My Story – The Act of Forgiveness

I knew that I had to forgive Sarah—not that she was asking for it—but so I could be free of these negative feelings toward Sarah. I know how hard it is. Half of me was feeling hurt and justified based on how Sarah was treating me. The other half of me knew that my feelings were clashing with my Christian values and putting a degree of separation with God. I knew forgiving Sarah was 100% within my control, independent of what Sarah did or didn’t do, and was a gift to myself—albeit a hard gift to receive.

I sat quietly with God, asking Him to help me with a forgiving mindset and confessing my sin of unforgiveness. I forgave Sarah for any ill-will, attitude, and behaviors toward me. “I forgive you, Sarah, for … I pray that God blesses you by …” [details intentionally omitted]. I kept repeating the words aloud, giving the words power. The more I forgave Sarah, the more peace I found. I had to repeat my words over and over to push out the demonic influences.

We live in a fallen world, so the Devil will continue to plant seeds that disconnect us from people with unforgiveness and thus causing greater separation with God. I admit that as time moves forward and nothing changes with Sarah, there’s a propensity for negative thoughts to slowly creep in. When they do, I immediately turn toward God and give it back to him. That’s how I keep my freedom in forgiveness. When I go to Jesus, give it to Him, and ask him to replace it, He does. Thank you, Jesus.

Who Do You Need to Forgive?

Who do you need to forgive? When will you do it? I suggest you do it now. Don’t let one more minute, hour, or day go by holding onto the pain and separation from God. Ask spiritual help from the one who knows all and is always in control. Would love to hear your story of forgiveness. If you’d like to share it with someone, send me an email at shinecrossings@gmail.com.

*Named changed to protect her identity.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How to Forgive? It’s Hard, And It’s for You

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22). Wow, that’s a heavy burden. From our human perspective, it just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Someone sins against you 77 times, and Jesus tells you to forgive them every time. On the surface it might seem unreasonable, yet when Jesus commands this, He’s looking out for YOUR best interest.

Forgiveness: It’s Your Gift

When you deeply explore the “why” behind Matthew 18: 21-22, you’ll come to realize the benefit isn’t for the person receiving forgiveness but for you. Forgiveness doesn’t help the sinner; instead, it helps the one who was sinned against. When you hold onto your pain, it only hurts you. Jesus wants you to be free from the hurt, so he is commanding you to forgive as many times as is necessary so that you can be set free.

Why Forgive

Why Forgive? We forgive to be MOST like Jesus. His last and most important human act was to be the sacrificial lamb and take our sin when we stand before God in judgment. Forgiveness can be challenging, especially when those, who’ve sinned against us, won’t even ask for it. How can we more easily forgive and set ourselves free of our hurt?

Forgiveness is not dependent in any way on another person. You are 100% in control. Forgiveness is not predicated on whether someone asks for forgiveness. Your forgiveness is simply a choice that releases your pain—an intentional surrender to your own negative emotions and hurt.

Setting the Stage for Forgiveness: Your Belief System

Forgiveness comes more easily when you believe the 4 following truths:

  1. You are 100% responsible for what you think, say, and do. When you make excuses, blame, and criticize, what you’re saying is there’s something better that you’re not willing to go after. That “better” may be forgiveness.
  2. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and not the other person. Are there times you tell someone you forgive them, but you still feel hurt. Why? Because forgiveness is not something that you give someone, it’s something you give yourself.
  3. Forgiveness sets you free. Give yourself permission to let it go, because it doesn’t serve you a useful purpose.
  4. Forgiveness allows you to get closer to God. When you’re obedient to God’s commands, you are drawn closer to Him. You achieve a higher spiritual position than before.

Steps to Forgive Those Who Hurt You

Step 1: Align your belief system with the 4 mindset principles. Have the right mindset toward forgiveness.

Step 2: Ask God to help you maintain a forgiving mindset

Step 3: Confess your sin of unforgiveness up until that point. Yes, you are a sinner of unforgiveness.

Step 4: Speak aloud your forgiveness of the person by specifically naming the behavior, and then speak blessings over the other person who has sinned against you.

Step 5: Remind yourself that this is a journey and give yourself a pat-on-the-back that you’re moving in a positive direction

Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries

Honoring God with a spirit of forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to continually expose ourselves to negative people and situations and a cycle of repeated forgiveness. Neither are we to shelter. We are to be in the world sharing the Gospel, and when we do, we will be exposed to those who will hurt us. Consider establishing healthy personal boundaries that help safeguard you physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you have the mind and spirit to bring Kingdom to earth.

Scriptures to Pray On

  1. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  2. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
  3. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
  4. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
  5. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
  6. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to sever times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Why Forgive? It’s the Hardest Thing You May Ever Do

Dear Lord, help me forgive…

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series

We live in challenging times, but this has been true for centuries. And as I often share, “No one gets a struggle-free life.” Do you feel oppressed with personal suffering or emotional pain caused by either your own actions or those of others? Simply said, “I believe you can minimize it or caste it out quickly after you feel it.” The secret lies in forgiveness—yes, a difficult task for most people.  

Ten years after professing my belief in Jesus as my personal savior and the Holy Spirit setting up camp in my heart, I have been on an incredible life journey where God has brought me some insights on how to manage the mudslinging and pain that come each day by living on this earth. This 3-part series explores forgiveness: why forgiveness is important, how to forgive, and then my own personal testimony of forgiveness and its impact on my life.

You Are Not Alone

Do you sometimes feel like one of the walking wounded? Do you feel weighed down with feelings of hurt? The answer lies with not just having a belief in Jesus but also tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit—a gift that comes with your salvation. Jesus gave us a friend in the Holy Spirit while we live on earth, until we sit in judgment before God, and Jesus steps in and says to the Father, “I take the sin on behalf of my brother [or sister] who stands before you.” 

How You Can Be MOST Like Jesus

When Jesus truly dwells in your heart, you’ll be inspired to be like Jesus. The Bible gives us testimony and insights into what it looks like to be like Jesus. Have you studied Jesus’s ultimate act and what it means for us still living an earthly life?

On some level it’s hard to imagine that God would send His only Son to earth to be brutally tortured and crucified, so He could take the sin away from all who profess in Him as their personal savior. Jesus’s final act was both the symbol and powerful truth of FORGIVENESS of sin when Christians stand in God’s judgment. If you want to be MOST like Jesus, you must forgive others as God forgives you through the power of Jesus Christ; otherwise, you just don’t get Jesus at the heart level and what He did for you.

Your Forgiveness and Jesus

Forgiveness is so important that Jesus commands us to do it more than 77 times if necessary (Matthew 18:21-22). Scripture also implies that what stands between us and God is our sin and lack of forgiveness (Matthew 6:15). Consider Jesus’s last words spoken before it died and went to heaven, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When Jesus could have said anything to the crowd or the Father, He chose those words. Will you follow in his footsteps?

What unforgiveness are you holding onto? Who do you need to forgive? Let Jesus stand before our Maker on judgment day and slide the forgiveness card in front of God and say, “I take his [her] sin. I paid the price.”

Give me Jesus…

Pray Upon These Forgiveness Scriptures

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)

But if you do not forgive others that sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15)

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Part 2 will give you insights on how you can forgive when it’s difficult


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Jezebel, Jezebel: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

peter-forster-ouVAsbiwzlo-unsplash“Olly olly oxen free, Jezebel and Leviathan.” The game is over. We know who you are and what you do. You are the thieves that “come only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10) relationships, personal identities, and livelihoods. We are calling you out and banishing you to join the other unholy spirits in your hometown of hell.

You may be saying, “Wow, what’s that all about?” As I work with individuals and couples, there at times when I see the spirits of Jezebel and Leviathan working feverishly to create fear and wreak havoc in marriages. Jezebel, Leviathan, or both as partners manifest in people’s worldviews, choices, and behaviors in similar ways. Jezebel is the control freak and manipulator. Leviathan is the great relationship divider—creating separation from God and others and rejoicing in conflict and contention. Together they show up as the narcissist.

robert-nyman--ysyCHixMHU-unsplashDo you have a feeling or inkling that these spirits may have any influence in your life today? If so, don’t feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, or even beat yourself up. These spirits are invited into a child’s life at an early age based on your parents’ behavior. When a child doesn’t feel loved, lives in fear, has his/her heart broken, and lacks a sense of security or protection, the anger and bitterness open a portal for the spirits to enter and take up residence in the child’s mind.

Were you physically, emotionally, or verbally abused in childhood? If so, you could be suffering from the influence or torment of a spirit. Unfortunately, adults who’ve been living with the Jezebel/Leviathan spirit may not be able to discern the spirits, because the spirits have a stronghold on their mind. Evidence of the spirits will be in the lack of “fruit” in a person’s life. Do you have difficulty reading the Bible without falling asleep? What is the condition of your marriage and relationships with children and colleagues. Would your friends truly be there in times of need, or do you call them “friends” because of what you can take from each other?

Jezebel is the number reason for divorce. This spirit will cause a spouse to be selfish, controlling, and abdicate any responsibility. The blame will always reside with the other spouse. Does this sound familiar?

freestocks-yB2TGLr-rVo-unsplashAre you tired of failed relationships, torment, misery, anxiety, and conflict? If you believe you’ve got a spirit influence, the only way to rid yourself of them is to forgive and repent. You and Jesus hold the power to bind and caste out the devil.

You must pray a prayer to free yourself from the spirits. You can learn more by visiting www.restoredtofreedom.com. If you’re interested in repairing or improving your marriage with sound Biblical counseling and marriage tools, get the help you need by reaching out for virtual sessions at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741.

Reference

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: The Road to Deliverance from the Enemy’s Finest.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Your Core Values: Expressed through the Eyes of Jesus

matt-botsford-bBNabN9R_ac-unsplashI have two questions for you? The second we’ll get to later. The first is: what are your core values? How would you describe them in action in your life?

With a foot in the secular life coaching world and another in the ministry of Jesus, I hold some unique perspectives. The more I work with people, we invariably touch upon their core values and how these values shape their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. If you’d ask me what my top five core values are, I’d have to say service, leadership, authenticity, love, and obedience.

You might say, “Sounds like a good list,” and you’d leave it at that. Afterall, these are my core values. You’re likely more interested in exploring your core values. I say, “Do it,” and encourage you to describe what your core values look like through the worldview of Jesus. My second question: how did Jesus embody your core values as he lived his short life on earth?

You are uniquely made by God, and He instilled a unique combination of core values that are rooted deep inside you. Think of an apple with its core full of seeds. The skin and flesh of the apple is you, and the seeds at the center are your core values. Your life sprouts and grows out of your core values.

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I can see the beauty and appreciate my core values even more, when I see how Jesus lived them out as described through the Bible.

  • Service: Jesus was the ultimate servant by healing the sick, feeding the masses, and bringing the dead to life. During the last supper and their protests, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, even Judas, whom He knew would betray him.
  • Leadership: The only litmus test of a leader is whether he has followers. The Bible is full of stories where the crowds flocked to Jesus, yet ultimately his leadership is revealed in his ability to convince a small tribe, his 12 disciples, to give up their lives to follow him and become fishers of men.
  • Authenticity: Jesus was the poster child who exemplified authenticity. How many times did he unabashedly tell stories and speak truth that countered the prevailing thoughts of the Jewish culture and Pharisee leaders? He always spoke truth regardless of its repercussions or how it fit in with conventional culture.
  • Love: Jesus embodied love with encouragement, discipline, and teaching. He knew everyone’s heart and still accepted them. Jesus had the longest recorded one-on-one conversation recorded by the Gospel writers with the Samaritan woman at the well. Who was she? The lowest ethnic and gender class shunned by her community for immoral sexual behavior. Jesus loves when others don’t or won’t.
  • Obedience: Jesus embodied obedience when he knowingly sacrificed himself on the cross for humanity’s sin and for our salvation. That was the ultimate act of obedience to God’s plan. Amen!

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What is your favorite Scripture that embodies your core values? Here are mine:

  • Service: John 15:12: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • Leadership: 1 Peter 5:3: Not domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock.
  • Authenticity: Ephesians 4:15: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
  • Love: Galatians 5:14: For the whole law is fulfilled in the statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Obedience: 1 John 2:6: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

My prayer is that you’ll spend time identifying your top core values and thinking how Jesus embodied them. Through this self-reflection, you’ll hopefully realize how much you and Jesus have in common.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com