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“What If My Husband Doesn’t Care about My Happiness?”

Honestly, this is where most of us find ourselves at the beginning of this journey. I know I did. When I began my journey, my husband was completely shut down and he didn’t care about my feelings or happiness anymore. Or so I thought. He didn’t want to look at me, be in the same room with me, listen to me, or talk to me.

I concluded he didn’t love me at all. But I was wrong. He was just hurting. A lot. We both were.

The answer to this question is going to be a bit different depending on the particular man, his personality, the dynamics of the marriage, and where both the husband and wife are spiritually. It requires some serious spiritual discernment to unravel – what are my own issues as a wife and what are my husband’s issues?

1. For example, some men act like this because they have felt disrespected for a long time. That was my situation. My husband had shut me out of his heart because I was (unknowingly) bossy, rude, condescending, controlling, prideful, self-righteous, and disrespectful. It took over 3.5 years into my journey of asking God to change me for him to soften and begin to feel safe with me again. As he felt more and more safe and respected – and less like I was going to bite his head off – he began to really show that he cared about my happiness.

There is also the issue of idolizing our husbands or becoming codependent where we depend on them to “make us happy” rather than finding our joy and happiness in Christ alone. We can become black holes of deep neediness that no human man could ever satisfy sometimes.

2. Of course, there are other men who are narcissistic or emotionally/verbally abusive or so extremely wounded from their own past that this is the reason why they act this way. Their unloving behavior may be completely independent of their wives.

Other times there is a culture of emotional and verbal abuse that can begin to be corrected when one spouse begins to change and heal in Christ.

3. Another problem is – if the wife doesn’t know how to properly “respect herself” (or, think rightly about herself according to Scripture) if she acts subservient, like a doormat, or weak and disrespects herself, a husband may begin to see her that way, and there are some husbands (especially with more dominating personalities) who may run over a wife like that. She may think that to respect her husband, she has to demean herself. Thankfully, this is not true!

4. There are also men who have mental health issues, very serious unrepentant sin, major addictions, who are very abusive, or who have such severe spiritual oppression that they may not care about their wives or act in loving ways.

Even in really tough situations, we can focus on ourselves and how we can grow in Christ as women. But we may also need outside help to deal with the crisis in the marriage.

Each of these topics could be a book in and of themselves.

I’d like to provide wives with some resources that may help you be able to prayerfully determine which dynamic is going on and work on your end with the Lord and invite His wisdom, discernment, and healing into your life and your marriage.

STEPS TOWARD HEALING

Of course, if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the first step to see healing in your marriage is for you to experience the spiritual healing Jesus has for you. Having a relationship with Him includes deciding to set Him on the throne of your life so that He is LORD of every area of your life. Then He can empower you to become more and more the godly wife He calls you to be.

Resources to help you heal spiritually and be as strong as possible in Christ:

Resources for the 4 marriage situations listed earlier:

1. If #1 (above) is your issue, I believe my book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” would be really helpful. (available on Amazon, Christianbook, and Barnes and Noble online.) Also, many of my videos on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy, and my blog posts here about disrespect and respect may provide tools and lightbulb moments to help you on your end of the relationship.

2 and 3. If you are dealing with a man who tends more toward narcissism or emotional/verbal abuse, I would suggest Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. This will help you get the firm spiritual foundation you need with the Lord and then you will learn a lot of tools about deflating defensiveness in your man and how to set healthy boundaries in ways that honor the Lord, your husband, and yourself.

I also have some posts that may be helpful:

And, I would encourage you to search my blog for posts by “Radiant.”

Also, Nina Roesner has a blog under her name that has posts that may be really helpful like:

4. If you are dealing with severe issues – a truly abusive man, a man who is involved in active infidelity, a man who has severe uncontrolled mental health issues, or who is severely spiritually oppressed and you (or your children) are not safe – I would strongly suggest seeking wise, godly, experienced counsel one-on-one. Also, there are times when it is necessary to involve law enforcement, doctors, pastors, and other people who can help. I don’t want anyone to be in danger.

You may contact:

 

Lord,

There are so many women here who are hurting. Our perception is sometimes that our husbands don’t love us, don’t care about us, and that we aren’t important to them. It hurts us to the core as wives. 

We feel insecure. We feel afraid. And when we are feeling insecure, unloved, and afraid, we sometimes make destructive choices. Help us to stop depending on our own wisdom and understanding. Help us see our situations rightly – our own lives and our husband’s life – with Your perspective, Your wisdom, Your discernment, and Your Spirit’s power.

Change us. Heal us. Let us become the women and wives You call us to be for Your glory. We invite Your work in our hearts, minds, and lives. We yield ourselves wholeheartedly to You.

Then give us the power, discernment, wisdom, and ability to pour Your healing, Your Spirit, Your goodness, and the blessings of heaven into our marriages – that You might be greatly glorified!

Help us to find our security in Christ alone. Help us to become strong women of great faith in Christ. Not because we are so good or strong. We are weak. But You are strong, Jesus!

Use the pain we are in to draw us to Yourself that we might yield to Your love, Your glorious salvation, and Your Lordship.

Amen!

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

SHARE

If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

Is Real Joy Possible for Me?

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

This is the post I wrote just an hour before Greg’s dad suddenly passed away last Saturday. The next one I plan to write is about counting trials as joy, which I had also planned to write before the trial we are currently facing began. I’m so excited to share the wonderful blessing of the joy of the Lord with all of you. It is one of the most precious gifts of God. When we know the Lord, we get to experience and participate in His amazing joy and contentment, even during the most difficult circumstances. 

Joy is something we all long to experience continually. But so few people possess it today. Even in the church. Dear sisters, this need not be! Each of us have access to more joy than we could possibly imagine in Jesus Christ!

DEFINING “JOY”

John Piper’s definition of joy:

  • Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.

www.gotquestions.org’s definition of joy:

  • The Greek word for joy is chara. Joy is the natural reaction to the work of God, whether promised or fulfilled.
  • Joy manifests in different ways:
    • the joy of deliverance
    • the joy of salvation
    • the joy of spiritual maturity
    • the joy of God’s presence
  • The Greek chara is closely related to charis, which means “grace” or “a gift.” Chara is the normal response to charis—we have joy because of God’s grace.
  • Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13).
  • Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:4).

Definition of joy – Bible dictionary

WHAT CAN DESTROY MY JOY?

For a believer in Christ, no one can take away our joy. The gifts and promises of God are secure for us in Jesus. The only way to lose my joy is to take my eyes off of Jesus, to slip from fellowship with Him (because of sin or neglect), to believe lies, and/or to look to other things/people for my joy, security, contentment, peace, and purpose.

Satan wants to steal my joy, and he will if I allow him to. He would love to get me to think I have to live in misery, defeat, sin, discouragement, worry, and fear. But reality is…

No one can steal the promises of God for me – unless I allow them to!

This joy is always available to me in my relationship with the Living God and Creator of the universe. It is not dependent on my circumstances or on other people.

  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
  • So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:22

ATTAINING JOY

Joy comes only when I turn away from everything that is spiritually toxic and my heart is fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. Then I have fellowship with God – emotional and spiritual connection, oneness, and intimacy.

Joy is intrinsic to the character and presence of God. He is the source of all true joy. Joy, in and of itself, is not to be my primary goal. It is an inevitable result when I am in close fellowship with the Lord. Joy is a byproduct, like all of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  Interestingly, joy is also a command for us as believers.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Phil. 4:4

God’s joy is always available to me – as much as He is always available to me. Many of us live in despair, hopelessness, and spiritual oppression today. But that is not God’s provision for us! We often live like we are beggars, searching desperately for crumbs. But if we belong to Christ, we are children of the Most High God and joint heirs with Jesus. All that He possesses belongs to us. We are already seated with Him in the heavenlies! And we will reign with Him for eternity.

WHAT REASONS DO I HAVE FOR JOY RIGHT NOW?

Here are just a few reasons I can have joy in any circumstances:

  • Jesus’ death conquered and paid for my sin debt in full! I have the ability to be in right-standing with God! (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
  • There is no longer any condemnation for me, if I am in Jesus! (Rom. 8:1)
  • His resurrection is mine – with the power to live today in holiness and the power to rise from death and experience eternal life! (John 11:25, Rom. 8:11)
  • I have God’s Word – and it is Life and Light. (Matt. 4:4, Ps. 119:105)
  • I have access to the very Holy of holies in heaven through Jesus! (Heb. 10:19)
  • His promises are all mine to claim, to stand on, and to delight in. (Phil. 4:19, 2 Cor. 1:20)
  • His Spirit is mine. (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • His fellowship is mine. (1 John 1:3)
  • His love is mine. Nothing can separate me from the Love of God in Christ Jesus if I belong to Him! (Rom. 8:38-39)
  • God will never leave me or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • God uses everything that happens in our lives for our ultimate good (if we are believers) and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • God is sovereign over my life, my family, and the nations. (Ps. 103:19)
  • He is love. (1 John 4:8)
  • His wisdom is infinitely higher than my own. (Isaiah 40:28)
  • God is good. (Ps. 34:8)
  • My identity is in Christ Jesus alone. (Gal. 2:20)
  • My security is in Christ Jesus alone. (Eph. 1:13-14)
  • In Christ, all my fears melt away. He does not give me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (1 Tim. 1:7)
  • He has given me so many reasons to sing praises to Him. (Ps. 100:1-2)
  • He gives me victory over sinful thoughts, words, and actions as I let His Spirit work powerfully in me. (Rom. 8:13)
  • He has done great things for me and I am extremely thankful to Him! (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • If I am on God’s side, He will fight for me and the enemy will not be able to have victory over me. (1 John 4:4, Ex. 14:14)
  • I don’t have to be afraid of all of the chaos going on in the world, God has given us information about what must take place before the rapture and Great Tribulation. I can stand on His Word. (1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 13)
  • Heaven is guaranteed for me if I belong to Jesus. I don’t have to face death with fear. (John 3:16, 1 Cor. 2:9)

God has blessed me with countless blessings throughout my life: Jesus, salvation, the Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit, my birth family, my husband, my children, air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, a job, a roof over my head, a country where I am free, a church family, friends, health, electricity, the internet, talents, abilities, etc…

If these reasons for joy don’t get you excited, it’s time to check your spiritual pulse!

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10

SHARE

What has God shown you about joy? We’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

Verses about joy

Verses about the promises of God

Is There a Difference between Joy and Happiness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Joy? by www.gotquestions.org

How Do You Define Joy? by John Piper

How to Have a Relationship with Christ 

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

 

Top 5 Pitfalls on This Journey

Photo by Raúl Nájera on Unsplash

On this lifelong journey as I seek to become the woman, wife, and mom God created me to be, there are some common snares. I have fallen into them myself, at times, and I have seen other women fall into them, too.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matt. 7:13-14

It is a very narrow, counter-cultural, politically incorrect, difficult path to follow Jesus – not just in the area of being a godly wife and mom, but in every area. His ways go completely against our old sinful nature and our human wisdom. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit every moment. But God’s path is more than worth it in light of eternity!

One of the most helpful things can sometimes simply be to know where some common pitfalls are. Here is my top 5 list.

  1. Having a Divided Heart 

I must seek the Lord first in my life. He must be my greatest desire, my greatest Treasure. If I put other things/people/desires above Christ in my heart, even good things like – a strong marriage, my husband, romance, feeling loved, my children, my happiness, or self – I am living in idolatry. Idolatry never satisfies. It leads to heartache, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, discontentment, depression, anxiety, and spiritual death. (Sometimes, idolatry even leads to suicidal thoughts or even death if we follow it long enough.)

The Prince of Peace, Jesus, must be firmly on the throne of my heart and He must have no rivals. It is very easy for me to slip into wrong motives and not even realize it. So if I notice that I am feeling stuck, frustrated, resentful, negative, or disappointed, the first thing I want to do is a throne check of my heart. I invite the Lord to shine His light into the darkest places of my heart and expose any toxic thinking.

I want to confirm to myself and to the Lord that He is my greatest priority, my greatest desire, and that He alone is worthy of all of my love, worship, adoration, reverence, trust, faith, and hope. I remind myself to seek my identity and security in Christ alone. When I am walking in right relationship with Jesus, He gives me His supernatural power to relate in godly ways to other people.

2. Starving Myself Spiritually

I can’t possibly be a godly woman, wife, or mom if I am not receiving proper spiritual nourishment. Just like I have no strength physically if I starve myself more than a day or so, the same thing is true spiritually. I must have serious time with the Lord on a daily basis as much as I need food to eat and water to drink every day.

This is more challenging in some seasons than in other seasons of life. But I can pray, “Lord, I want to make You my first priority. Show me where I can carve out the time I need so desperately with You. Help me to get rid of distractions and things that may be good, but that are keeping me from what is best.” I need to do anything it takes for me to be filled up with the Lord, myself. Then I will be overflowing with God’s power, love, and Life and can pour these blessings into my marriage and family.

Spiritual nourishment involves:

  • reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible with the desire to apply and obey God’s truth.
  • praying and being still before the Lord.
  • memorizing verses/passages of Scripture.
  • praising and thanking God.
  • repenting of sin ASAP.
  • replacing any lies and unbiblical thinking with God’s truth.
  • fasting of various types.
  • fellowship with other believers.
  • avoiding things that are spiritually toxic to me – things that distract me from God, things that encourage me to be afraid, things that entice me to sin. These may be books, movies, types of social media, the news, certain friendships, tempting situations/people, certain topics of conversation, a specific train of thought, etc…

I need some amount of space/time where I can completely focus on the Lord and be still and allow Him to speak to me and to transform me.

3. Attempting to Be Godly in My Own Strength

I need time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word, but I also need the power of the Holy Spirit. If I am trying to be a godly woman, wife, or mom in my own power, I will fail. Every time. I don’t have the ability to do this in my own strength. Some telltale signs that I am trying to do this whole thing without the power of the Spirit are things like:

  • exhaustion
  • frustration
  • legalism – trying to follow a long list of rules
  • lack of joy and peace
  • resentment toward my husband/children for not changing
  • resentment toward God for not doing what I want Him to do yet
  • coldness in my heart
  • irritability
  • self-righteousness/pride
  • worry/fear/anxiety
  • depression/discouragement
  • hatred of self or others
  • hopelessness

Here is a post about how to tell if I am trying to do this in my strength or in God’s strength.

4. Changing Myself Only If Other People Will Change, Too 

I am willing to change IF my changes will make other people change like I want them to. If they don’t change quickly enough, then I get upset that “this isn’t working!” I feel tempted to give up and go back to my old sinful ways. Ultimately, my obedience to God is all about getting what I really want from other people/relationships, not about being close to Him.

This is actually an attempt at manipulation and control on my part. When things don’t go my way, my real motives are exposed.

“I have been doing so much to try to change. My husband hasn’t changed at all. My children haven’t changed at all. This is NOT fair! I want them to work just as hard as I am working and I want them to change, too. Why should I try so hard when no one else is doing anything to try to bless and love me like they should? Following God isn’t worth it!”

Now, instead of getting frustrated when other people aren’t changing, I realize this is a spiritual test for me. I can ask myself:

  • Why am I doing this journey, really? Am I doing it to honor and love the Lord or to get what I want from other people?

If I am doing this for the Lord, then I will be committed to doing things His way and to continue on this narrow path no matter what anyone else decides to do. My goals are to honor, love, and reverence God and to bless others. Challenges will crop up that force me to have to re-examine my motives at times. That is actually a blessing. It is an opportunity to undergo the refining fire of God. In Jesus, there is contentment even in painful trials.

As I double down on my desire simply to obey and follow Christ, my faith will grow and God will bless me spiritually. Then I will have His power to pray His healing, blessing, and Life into my family in His way and in His timing. Not for my selfish desires but for His glory!

It is tempting to expect and to desire everyone else to change first. Here is a post about why I want to deal with my sin first and allow God to change me first.

5. Allowing My Feelings and Thoughts to Go Unchecked

Taking my thoughts captive for Christ is an essential daily discipline on this journey. I can’t allow just any old thoughts and feelings to run rampant in my heart and mind. That is a recipe for disaster. If I realize there are sinful thoughts – bitterness, fear, resentment, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, discouragement, lies, etc.. in my thinking – I must do something about it. Otherwise, I give room to the enemy to take territory in my life. I am responsible for my own emotions and thoughts.

In Christ, my emotions and thoughts do not rule me, Jesus rules them.

God instructs me, as a believer in Christ, to reject any sinful or wrong thoughts and motives and to replace them with His truth from His Word. As I learn to immediately shoot down sinful thoughts and motives and replace them with God’s truth, I will be able to walk in greater fellowship with Him and experience so much more of His love and abundant spiritual life in my everyday challenges. Here is a video about how to take your thoughts captive for Christ.

PRAYER

Lord,

We choose to have You, and You alone on the throne of our hearts. We submit ourselves to Your Lordship. You are the only true God there is. You are the only one worthy of all of our love, adoration, reverence, respect, awe, and submission. Your love for us is beyond our ability to fathom as we look at the cross and all You have done for us. Please help us be wholeheartedly devoted to You. Help us have eyes to see these pitfalls and help us to turn to You for the power we need to walk in obedience and in right relationship with You. Jesus’ power is what we need every moment. Transform our hearts, minds, and lives for Your glory! Help us to walk in the reality that we are new creations in Christ and that we are dead to our old sinful selves and this world. We are alive to God through Jesus!

Amen!

RELATED VERSES

My Motives:

  • I am your shield, your very great reward. Gen. 15:1
  • “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
  • ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark. 12:30 (The Greatest Commandment)
  • “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26 **

My Need for Time/Fellowship with God:

  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:105
  • But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6
  • “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34
  • Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Being Filled with the Spirit:

  • He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matt. 3:11
  • It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. John 6:63
  • The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6
  • Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16

Taking Responsibility for Myself:

  • Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Prov. 28:13
  • And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
  • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2 Cor. 5:10
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21
  • Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal. 6:6-18

Taking My Thoughts Captive for Christ:

  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8
  • For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12

** Note on Luke 14:26 – The Second Greatest commandment is that we love other people as ourselves. So Jesus is not actually saying we are to hate our family members. The meaning of this verse is that our love for Jesus is so much greater than our love for our closest family members that our love for them looks like “hate” compared to our love for Him. Paradoxically, it is only when we truly love Jesus infinitely more than others that we truly can love other people in healthy, godly ways.

SHARE

What are some of the general areas that have been pitfalls for you on this journey? What godly wisdom have you learned that may be a blessing to other women?

My Commenting Policy

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Stages of This Journey – This is a lifelong process of growing and maturing in our faith in the Lord, not an instant thing.

The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord has much more info on:

  • how to do throne checks.
  • creative suggestions about how to get the time with God in that you need when you have young children at home or you are in a time crunch.
  • how to get rid of distractions so you have the time you need with God.
  • how to take our thoughts captive for Christ

NOTE – If you are experiencing severe problems in your marriage (uncontrolled mental illness, severe spiritual oppression, unrepentant immorality, addictions to drugs/alcohol/gambling, abuse, etc…) please seek appropriate, experienced help.  Contact a trusted godly counselor, a trusted pastor, the police, a doctor, or whoever would be able to get you the help you need right away.

Avoid Such People

When we think of what it means to be godly Christian women, sometimes we think that means we have to tolerate anything from other people. We may think being respectful means that we don’t confront people when they sin or speak up when we are being mistreated. We may think it means we have to accept anyone as a friend and never say, “no,” to people under any circumstances.

We may think we are supposed to be people pleasers.

But God never calls us to be people pleasers. We are to be God-pleasers! We are to love God wholeheartedly. Yes, we are to love all people with His love. But God’s love doesn’t allow evil to influence it and drag it down into the gutter.

May the verse below NOT be true of us!

  • for they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:43

 

THE BIBLE HAS WISDOM FOR US

We don’t hear a lot about these passages, today. That is unfortunate, because we can end up surrounding ourselves with people who will try to tear us away from the Lord – and who will hurt our witness for Christ – if we don’t know God’s wisdom for us.

Understand that the last days will be dangerous times. People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy, unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won’t love what is good. They will be people who are disloyal, reckless, and conceited. They will love pleasure instead of loving God. They will look like they are religious but deny God’s power. Avoid people like this. 

Some will slither into households and control immature women who are burdened with sins and driven by all kinds of desires. These women are always learning, but they can never arrive at an understanding of the truth. These people oppose the truth in the same way that Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. Their minds are corrupt and their faith is counterfeit. But they won’t get very far. Their foolishness will become obvious to everyone like those others. 2 Tim. 3:3-9CEB

  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6 NIV
  • Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 2 Thess. 3:14
  • Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and obstacles that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Turn away from them. Rom. 16:17
  • If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matt. 18:17 (After you confront a brother privately and then bring several other believers and confront him…)
  • If anyone comes to you but does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home or even greet him. 2 John 1:10 (speaking of false teachers)
  • But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 1 Cor. 5:11

Verses about trusting the Lord

Verses about trusting people (they are mostly about how we can’t trust other people)

Verses about false teachers

CHOOSING FRIENDS

So when we choose close friends, or our children choose close friends (or future spouses), there are biblical standards we are to apply to our selections. Of course, we are not to be like these passages above, ourselves, either. We are to walk closely to the Lord and invite Him to help us purify our own lives of any sin. And then we are to surround ourselves with strong believers in Christ.

  • Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, Ps. 1:1

We want to try to have fellowship with everyone we can. But if someone is toxic for our faith, the church, or our witness – by God’s definition – we put our love for fellowship with God above our desire to fellowship with people and we honor His commands for us. He is our LORD.

We don’t avoid people out of pride, self-righteousness, hatred, bitterness, or resentment. We avoid certain people, based on a right handling of Scripture, with the goal of protecting our witness for Christ and with a heart that longs to see people repent and turn and be transformed and healed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

SEEKING GOD’S WISDOM

These passages don’t mean that we avoid unbelievers who sin. We are supposed to engage with people who don’t know Christ and share the hope of the Gospel. We minister to them, love them, pray for them, and try to reach them.

But we are not to allow anyone to influence us to pull us away from the Lord and from His Word.

It requires the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit for us to properly evaluate various relationships. We need to be sure we are right with the Lord ourselves and that we are not practicing any of these sinful lifestyles ourselves. Then we need to seek God’s wisdom humbly. We don’t seek to accuse, berate, and condemn other people. But we do try to protect our children and ourselves from ungodly influences.

PRAYER

Lord,

We desperately need Your wisdom and the power of Your Spirit to rightly handle these difficult situations. We want to act in goodness and love with motives that please You. We want to share Your love with everyone. We want to see Your church purified, cleansed, united in love, and vibrant. Help us to discern how to handle these tough relationship issues with holiness. Help us to shine brightly for Jesus in all of our interactions with everyone. Direct our every step for Your glory alone.

Amen!

SHARE

If you would like to share some general things about this topic and what the Lord has shown you, you are welcome to share. I do ask that we keep this space respectful of the Lord and of others and ourselves. That we don’t publicly share details of other people’s sin here. That we don’t tear anyone down. I’d like this place to be a place of edification, blessing, and honor.

Thanks!

My commenting policy

RELATED

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

A Critical Spirit VS a Godly Rebuke

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs, That’s the Godly Thing to Do

Some Conflict Is Inevitable

6 Reasons Not to Have a Critical Spirit

Do Not Expect Outside Support – from your family and friends if you choose to honor the Lord in your life and marriage

Dealing with Annoying Things

 

WHAT IF MY HUSBAND IS LIKE THIS?

If it is our own husband or children who fit these descriptions, we may not be able to avoid them, necessarily. If you have a husband like this, I would encourage you to check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity,” so that you will be better equipped and prepared to deal with the situation in a godly way. Or you can check out:

www.focusonthefamily.com – has a one time free counseling service and counseling referral service

www.biblicalcounseling.com – can help you locate a Christian counselor

We can still choose to be a godly wives even if we have a husband who is far from the Lord. God may use our godly, respectful, holy attitude to draw our men to Himself. We want to seek, on our end, to honor our marriage covenant and to pray for God’s healing. We want to shine for Christ and seek to honor the Lord in the way we relate to our husbands, our children, the Lord, and ourselves. (For posts on this topic, click here, or look under categories at “win him without a word.”)

Verses for wives with unbelieving husbands

IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE SITUATION

However, if you are in an extreme situation where you or your children are in danger, your husband has serious uncontrolled mental health issues, he is involved in active adultery, he is actively involved in drug/alcohol abuse, etc… please seek wise, experienced, godly counsel. If possible, try to get somewhere safe. Involve the police, medical professionals, your pastor, or a trusted Christian counselor, if necessary. There are times when a godly wife may have to prayerfully consider separation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get a divorce. But I don’t want to see any wife, husband, or children in a dangerous place.

And, if you are not safe with your older children, or with a friend, coworker, neighbor, pastor, teacher, police officer, or anyone else, please seek individualized, local help ASAP, as well.

FOR SINGLE WOMEN

If you are not yet married, but your boyfriend or fiancé has a lot of the characteristics in these passages, that is a big red flag. Please see this post about men we are to avoid as Christian single women who are choosing a spouse. You may also want to check out my posts about Red Flags.

 

God’s Healing for Suicidal Thoughts

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I am so thankful for this dear sister’s story and for the victory she has experienced in Christ! We have all felt the darkness of despair. May we all experience the Light and hope of Jesus like this wife and mom did. (Shared with permission.)

————

Dear April,

I am writing to you after spending three delightful days with my grandson. The miracle in this is that I am a mother and grandmother at all.

You see, I have struggled with depression off and on my whole life. I seriously contemplated ending my life around 32 years ago, and then again 9 years ago.
Thirty-two years ago I felt so betrayed by a boyfriend, that I felt worthless and that life was too hard. With his unfaithfulness and my sensitive nature, I felt destroyed.

He was my idol, my false god. I placed my own personal value upon how he treated me. He treated me like trash, and I absorbed that identity.

What saved me from taking my life? Three things:

  1. Personal guilt I would feel toward my parents and siblings.
  2. I knew this was against my church’s teaching.
  3. I believed God did not like suicide.

Even though I felt no personal desire to live, I reasoned that if God wouldn’t give a free pass for people to just “quit” life when someone wanted to, then He must have another way out of the mess. In my core, I believed in a good God. Life could be cruel, but surely not the Creator of life?

I remember feeling numb and just praying, “Help me, God.” I went through the motions of living. I held on. I met my future husband one year later. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year.

So why in 2009, while on an island vacation with our four children did I feel suicidal again?

This time I felt unneeded, unappreciated, and unimportant.

My husband was extremely successful, admired, and appreciated at work. I stayed home with our children, working very hard to cook, clean, drive, keep up with laundry and dishes, help with homework, etc., and earned no money. I wanted to home school, but my husband wouldn’t let me. I watched our children’s spiritual lives drying up. I was frequently undermined in front of our children by my husband. I was rarely respected and the children saw that.

Needless to say, I became depressed. I remember crying a lot behind my sunglasses on that vacation in 2009, sitting in a bathroom stall trying to decide if I should overdose in that bathroom or go somewhere else. I spent many hours by myself. My husband and the children were having a great time in all the pools, in the ocean, and at the bar…no one knew what I was going through. They still don’t know and would be shocked to read this. My husband still refers to that vacation as a favorite family trip.

Again, making an idol had brought me to the point of ending my life.

What was my idol? My feeling of being a relevant member of my family. This time I didn’t feel like trash. I just felt irrelevant. They could find anyone to cook, clean, etc…

So, what stopped me this time? Two things:

  1. They would have to ship my body back to the U.S., and what a pain that would be…and it would be embarrassing to them.
  2. I still thought God would highly disapprove. I would have to face Him, with my final act being one of disobedience.

My whole life I’ve based my decisions on other people’s opinions; I have idolized their opinions, or what I have perceived their opinions to be. And my feelings have ruled my reason.

  • It is amazing to me that in my depression, I could only hear the voice of death. No other ideas or solutions for making my life better came to mind. I was in a dark cloud.

In 2010 I went back to work and loved my job. In 2012 I wanted out of the marriage. In 2013 my husband’s job changed where he had to travel a lot. He asked me to quit work. I cried. But I quit for our children. I had time to google things I wondered about like “how to be a peaceful wife.” Literally, I googled that. I just wanted to be peaceful – forget happy.

Well, I gobbled up your blog, April. And for Lent in 2014, I did Nina Roesner’s Respect Dare. I begged God for help. My husband started to treat me kindly, as I started to respect the memory of all those good qualities he had when we got married and all his good qualities he still had but I had ignored because of my hurt feelings. I’m not perfect and neither is he.

Shockingly, to me, each family member has come to me for advice on different things within the past two years. Sometimes they follow what I say and sometimes they just listen. It’s free will at this point. I ask God to help me help Him with His kingdom. I hope I have helped my Beloved King in some ways. I pray His forgiveness for my failures and near disasters.

Why did I want to share this? Mental illness and depression are very real. Putting other gods before the One true God twice nearly ended my life. These are my darkest secrets. Could anyone be helped by my story?


From The Peaceful Wife:

If you need help because you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, discouragement, or depression, please know that those thoughts are not from the Lord. If you are experiencing a spirit of death, you can be set free from that in Jesus! He is all about a Spirit of LIFE!

Don’t listen to the awful lies of Satan. He is the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy you and your family. He is the one who speaks despair, hopelessness, and darkness into your life. Choose to turn to Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep who has gone astray. He knows where you are. You are not too far away for Him to save you. Turn to the Bible. Turn to Light and Life in Him. He can heal you. You can have a saving relationship with Him.

The enemy wants you to believe horrible lies like:

The truth of God is:

  • You have value because you were created by God and everything He makes is precious and valuable.
  • You have hope because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross if you will turn to Him and yield your life to Him as Savior and Lord.
  • You are dearly loved – more than you could possibly imagine – by the God who created you. Not because you are so good, but because He is so good and He IS love.
  • You can’t be good enough on your own, but – what good news! You don’t have to be good enough. Jesus was good enough! God will allow His life to count for your own, and His death to count for your death. And He will give you His power so that you can walk in holiness and you can please and know the Lord. All you have to do is turn away from your old ways, your sin and your old toxic thinking and turn to His truth and His life.
  • Jesus offers you a brand new heart, a new Spirit, and a new life in Himself if you will come to Him in faith and trust.
  • The greatest and most lasting peace, joy, hope, and fulfillment only exist in knowing Jesus. When we are close to Him, He shares with us all of His spiritual riches and treasures.

PRAYER:

Thankfully, we can pray anytime! God is always ready to hear from us when we call out to Him for help.

Lord,

The mind set on the flesh is death. But how we thank You that the mind that is set on You is LIFE and PEACE! (Rom. 8:6) You have the power to transform our thinking, our minds, our hearts, and even our circumstances. Help us to acknowledge that we need You desperately. We all do. On our best days and at our lowest points. None of us are good. None of us are perfect – not even remotely. Only You are Good, Lord. The only goodness we can have comes directly from You. We need Jesus. We need Your cross. We need Your salvation. We need Your healing. We need our old selves to be crucified with you and buried with You, Jesus. We need new life in You that comes through Your resurrection power. We need Your transformation. We need the power of Your Word and Your Spirit.

Breathe Your LIFE into every hurting heart today. Heal wounded, broken souls. Conquer the enemy. Conquer the lies. Let all who are in darkness see Your great light. Let all who are chained and shackled in the prison of sin and the prison of Satan see their chains falling off by Your power and walk out into Your glorious light and hope. Let today be the day of salvation and healing for all who are thirsty, defeated, and weary. Let them come to You and find true rest for their souls.

Amen!

SOME LIFE-GIVING BIBLE VERSES (ESV):

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
  • Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. … Rom. 5:2-8
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39
  • For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13
  • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 (For believers in Christ, we are God’s temple)
  • For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:20
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9

More encouraging verses.

IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP FOR A SERIOUS ISSUE:

Please contact a trusted pastor, or go to the free one-time counseling services available at www.focusonthefamily.com or check out the counselors available at www.biblicalcounseling.com

If you feel you are an immediate danger to yourself, please call 911, or ask someone to take you to the emergency room. If someone you know is threatening suicide, please call 911 and get help right away. There are a lot of reasons for suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it is because of our own sinful thoughts or a spiritual battle. Sometimes suicidal thoughts can be a side effect of certain medications or a side effect of stopping certain prescriptions too quickly. There are other possibilities, too. But if you feel like you want/need to harm yourself, you are not thinking clearly and you need help right away. Please reach out for help. You will be so glad you did.

SHARE:

How has God given you hope when things were hopeless? Has there been a time when God encouraged you and pulled you up out of a dark pit in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

Do you need prayer and hope today? I’d be glad to point you to Jesus and the healing that is available to you in Him. But, please, if you are in immediate danger, please don’t wait for me to be able to respond, but get local, experienced help right now.

My Commenting Policy – Let’s seek to use this place to honor the Lord, our spouses, our families, and others. Let’s seek not to share lots of details about other people’s sin here or to tear anyone else down, but let’s seek to build up one another in our faith. Thank you so much! <3

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Relationship with Christ – this is the first and greatest step toward REAL peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When He is seated firmly on the throne of your life, He gives genuine, lasting peace.

Why Should I Not Commit Suicide? by www.gotquestions.org – also provides suicide hotlines and resources

Lacey Sturm’s story – she was an atheist teenager who was planning suicide, but God intervened! Now she is a Christian who sings “The Mercy Tree.”

Articles about suicide at www.gotquestions.org

Articles about suicide at www.desiringgod.org

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (about God, others, and ourselves – lies lead to bondage and thoughts of harming ourselves or others)

The Idol of Happiness

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Praying Life into Your Marriage and Family – changing the spiritual atmosphere in your home

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self-Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and a Desire to Control

Real Security – in my identity in Christ!

What Does God Say about Me?

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts – sinful thinking leads to fear, depression, isolation, discouragement, and hopelessness

 

 

 

A Critical Spirit VS. a Godly Rebuke

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

 

As believers in Christ, we are not to have a critical, judgmental spirit, but there are times when we do need to share a life-giving, godly rebuke. We don’t just want to ignore a situation where someone is hurting others or himself/herself.

How can we rightly discern the difference?

Here is a picture that helps me. I imagine someone is in danger, hanging perilously from the edge of a tall cliff.

  • Do I want to kick the person’s hands so he/she falls farther?
  • Do I want to throw him/her a lifeline?

If I have a critical, judgmental spirit (if I am acting in my sinful flesh):

My motives will include things like: resentment, bitterness, condemnation of others, self-righteousness, hatred, jealousy, pride, hypocrisy, gossip, slander, or some other sinful motive. I do not examine myself first. I do not see sin in my own life. I approach the other person harshly and/or go to other people and tell them how terrible this person is. I cause division and more hurt. I set myself in the place of judge and jury – maybe even executioner. My sinful response only adds gasoline to the fire.

  • My primary goals are to exalt myself and hurt others. I want to see the person I criticize defeated. I view him/her as “the enemy.”

If I am operating in the power of the Holy Spirit:

My motives will include things like: wholehearted love for God, unconditional love for all the people involved, truth, a desire to see the sinning person turn to the Lord in true repentance, a willingness to examine my own life for sin first, a longing for spiritual healing for all involved, a desire for genuine unity in the Body of Christ, hatred of sin and the destruction it causes. I seek to approach the sinning person very humbly. I want to honor God’s Word in Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17, and Gal. 6:1-2 about how to lovingly, rightly confront a sinning brother/sister in Christ.

First I deal with sin in my own life thoroughly before the Lord and I also repent to anyone I have injured. I seek to make things right. Then I approach the person in private. I don’t share details all over social media or with my coworkers and friends. If the brother/sister still doesn’t repent, I bring 1-2 strong believers along with me to address the issue – again, in private. And then, if the person still doesn’t repent, we are supposed to take them before the church. I am to watch myself carefully, so that I do not fall into any sinful temptation myself in this process.

  • My primary goals are to exalt and honor the Lord, to build up His kingdom, and to bless and love others. I am throwing a lifeline to someone who is about to be swept away by danger. I want to see the real enemy (Satan) defeated and everyone in the Body of Christ healthy and functional. I want to see those who don’t know the Lord come to Him and be transformed and healed.

Lord,
Please radically transform our hearts and minds with the power of Your Spirit! How we need Your power and holiness each moment – that we might love You and love others. Use us to shine Your light in this dark world. Be greatly glorified in our lives and help us to rightly handle Your Word and difficult relationships.
Amen.

Check out the post below for a great summary about what it means to properly give a rebuke.

https://www.gotquestions.org/rebuke-believer.html

 

SHARE:

What are some red flags you have noticed to help you see your motives clearly before you attempt to address someone else’s sin or wrongdoing?

What things have you learned to help you respond in a godly way?

 

Much love!

 

IF YOU NEED PERSONAL HELP WITH A TOUGH PROBLEM:

If you are facing a difficult situation and someone is sinning against you and you need to talk about it – please seek wise, godly counsel in private.

Check out the free counseling resource at www.focusonthefamily.org, or you can check out www.biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor. Or please check with a trusted pastor or godly mentor for a referral.

Of course, if you are facing someone who is extremely abusive or acting in dangerous ways, it may not be safe to confront them privately. There are times when things are so bad you may need to go directly to the police or seek outside help ASAP.

 

 

 

6 Reasons NOT to Criticize Your In-Laws

Photo Credit – Flickr

Before we get into the issue of why not to criticize our in-laws, let’s define criticism.

When I am speaking about criticism in this post, I am talking about:

  • having a critical, judgmental, negative, condemning spirit toward others that cannot be pleased.
  • insulting other people.
  • fault-finding.
  • gossipping.
  • having a negative attitude.
  • looking down on others with a sense of spiritual superiority or self-righteousness.

The truth is that…

  • When someone criticizes a man’s parents, he often feels an instinctive loyalty to defend them, even though he knows they aren’t perfect and may even agree with the criticism.
  • When a man’s own wife criticizes his parents, she is (perhaps unknowingly) pitting herself against his family – and by extension – against him.

Of course, the same is true for us as women when someone criticizes our parents.

It can be tempting to have a critical spirit against people. I may feel completely justified to do this in my own mind. However, if I choose to dishonor, disrespect, insult, and/or criticize my husband’s parents, I need to understand the price I will pay.

  1. My husband will feel personally dishonored, disrespected, insulted, and criticized if I do these things to his parents, even if I don’t criticize them to anyone but to him. If I criticize or insult his parents to other people, he will feel even more hurt. He will likely feel like I have been disloyal to him, like I have committed a type of betrayal against his family.
  2. I will create a wall of emotional/spiritual division between myself and my husband.
  3. I will lose some of his trust.
  4. If I disrespect and criticize my husband’s parents in front of our children, I will hurt their relationship with their grandparents.
  5. Even if I just have a critical spirit about my in-laws (or anyone else) in my mind and don’t verbalize my thoughts to anyone else, this mindset will adversely impact my spiritual growth and walk with the Lord and my relationships with my husband and his parents.
  6. If I complain and have a negative attitude toward my in-laws (or anyone else), I hurt my witness for Jesus Christ.

Instead of focusing on the negative things, perhaps I can focus on something positive? The more I look for good things, the more I will probably find good things about my in-laws. When I practice thanking God for the blessings I see in others, the better my own frame of mind, and the more power I have from God to respond in His Spirit rather than in my sinful flesh. What if God wants to use the things that are so difficult to teach me something valuable and to help me find spiritual treasures? Perhaps, if I feel there is a trial with my in-laws, I can count that trial as joy (as James 1:2-4 says to do) and invite God to do His miracles in my own thinking and in my own approach. I can then also pray effectively for my in-laws, that God might richly bless them and heal any wounds they may have, as well.

The Bible has much godly wisdom about a critical spirit and how we are not justified to do this and how God calls us to change to be more like Himself by the power of His Spirit:

  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
  • Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal. 6:1
  • Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Tim. 2:24
  • Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Rom. 2:1
  • Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Rom. 14:10
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor. 13:1
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
  • Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Phil. 2:14-15

Are there times I need to respectfully share concerns with my husband about his family? Sure. There may be times I need to let my husband know that there is an important issue going on. But I can do that without condemning, bashing, insulting, attacking, criticizing, or disrespecting his parents.

Examples of a critical approach:

  • Babe, I don’t want your parents to watch our kids. Your mom is such a horrible grandmother. She lets them be around their vicious dog. I don’t think she cares if they get hurt.
  • Honey, do we have to go to your parents’ house this month? Their house is a total disaster. She is the worst housekeeper. My sinuses go completely crazy every time we go. It is torture for me to have to be there for even an hour.

Examples of a respectful approach:

  • Babe, I want your parents to get to have lots of time with our kids. I know they love them so much. I want them to have a close relationship. However, I don’t feel that our kids are safe around their dog. I have seen the dog growl at them and snap at the baby. What are your thoughts on that?
  • Honey, I know it is so important to you that we spend some time with your parents. I want us to have a great relationship with them. I do want to let you know that my allergies sometimes flare up a lot, I have noticed, when we are there. I think maybe it is a combination of the dust and perfume. I will take some medicine to try to prevent problems. Do you have any suggestions so that we can be with them but I might not have to have so many problems with allergies?

 

Lord,

Please help us to live holy lives in our thoughts, our motives, our words, and our actions. Purify us of all sin. Purify us of negativity, a critical, judgmental spirit. Cleanse us of any self-righteousness and pride. Help us to see our in-laws, our husbands, and everyone with Your eyes and Your love. Transform our thinking by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word. Help us to approach our in-laws and everyone else in ways that bring glory and honor to Your Name.

Amen!

NOTE:

In-law relationships can be some of the MOST difficult. Sometimes our own husbands have quite a bit of godly wisdom about how to handle their family wisely. If you need some outside help for a tough in-law situation, please check out the free counseling resources available at www.focusonthefamily.org. Or the counseling resources at www.biblicalcounseling.com. Or check with your pastor or a strong believer you trust for a referral to a solid, biblical counselor in your area. Be sure the counselor seeks to handle God’s Word correctly.

 

Most of all, check out what God’s Word has to say, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and the power of His Spirit so that you may respond in His goodness and overcome evil with good.

RELATED
What Does the Bible Say about Criticism? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Complaining? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Self-Righteousness? – by www.gotquestions.org

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

 

 

 

Is “Hating Men” the Answer?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

A number of prominent women – college professors and women in the mainstream media – have been quite vocal lately about that they believe women should hate all men. They point to many examples of men who mistreated women, who sexually abused them, who assaulted them and raped them. The examples they give are truly awful. There is no doubt that there are many men who have done horrible things against women.

It is very wrong for men to hurt women. God hates violence, rape, abuse, and every kind of wrong men may commit against women. Of course, God also hates every kind of wrong women may commit against men, too.

As women who profess Christ, what are we to do? Is hatred really the answer to the problems in our society and in our families?

Let’s go back to Scripture, the only source of absolute truth, my dear sisters!

BASIC TRUTHS OF GOD’S WORD

About hatred:

  • The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Prov. 8:13
  • Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 1 John 2:9
  • But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:11
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

About love:

  • Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
  • Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. John 14:23-24
  • Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

About eternal life:

  • Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
  • Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15
  • “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matt. 5:21-22
  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Rev. 21:8

 

HOW GOD DEALS WITH SIN

Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness, perfection, and glory of God. It is anything that deviates from His goodness and His perfect will. We have all sinned against God and against people. Not just men. And not just women. We have all fallen short of His standard of holy perfection and are in desperate need of a Savior.

God hates sin. All sin. God hates sin so much that – in His holiness, righteousness, and justice – He cannot tolerate any sin in His presence. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That is why we as sinners, on our own, cannot enter heaven and we are condemned to hell if we don’t have the Savior. God doesn’t want us to go to hell, though. He longs for us all to be with Him in heaven forever. God had to come up with a way to deal with the sin He hates so that He could separate the sin from us and have the chance to be with the people He so dearly loves.

  • Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

That is what the cross of Jesus is all about. It is where the mercy and love of God meet the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God. This is the only way to salvation. It is the only way we can be made right with God. It is all about what Jesus, in His holiness, did for us that we could not do for ourselves. He overcame our sin with His divine love, not with hatred. How humbling is that!? He loved us enough to die for us to rescue us when we were still His enemies and we hated Him.

PEOPLE HATING PEOPLE IS NOT GOD’S WAY

We all lose when we hate each other. We miss out on real relationship with people. And we miss out on intimacy with the Lord. It is impossible to hate people and love God.

We should have righteous anger when anyone is wronged – men, women, the elderly, children, the unborn, and anyone else. We should hate sin like God does. We should seek to use our voices, our influence, and our power to guard people from harm. We should seek to elect leaders who will help enact laws that will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. We should seek to build governments that will protect all people from violence, rape, injustice, and abuse. We should address and confront sin in biblical ways.

However, women hating men is not the answer to the problems in our culture or in our families.

If men hate women, this will not solve anything or accomplish any good, either. Hatred always only brings more pain, more dysfunction, more division, and more hurt for everyone. Genuine repentance from our sins and our willingness to individually yield our lives to the Lordship of Christ Jesus is what will bring healing for us all.

MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY ARE GOOD GIFTS FROM GOD

Masculinity is part of God’s good design for us. So is femininity. God created us to be different on purpose. Masculinity, in and of itself, is not toxic, in spite of what our culture may say. Masculinity and femininity have become skewed because of sin and the Fall. However, masculinity and femininity are beautiful and precious gifts that, when used rightly, point us to the image of God and to the gospel of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33).

We need strong, godly men as leaders in our communities, churches, businesses, government, and families. Getting rid of masculinity, as some propose today, will hurt everyone. Women, men, families, marriage, children, and society all depend on healthy, godly masculinity and femininity to thrive. Let’s address the massive spiritual issue in our hearts – our sinful nature. That is what needs to die. That is the real problem.

If we seek to completely annihilate masculinity, especially God’s design for masculinity, we will hurt our societies, relationships, and children in ways we cannot imagine.

 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)

Those who know and love Jesus display the fruit of His Spirit in every interaction – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we have Christlike people – men and women – who know the Lord, we will have real peace. We will treat each other with mutual respect and unconditional love. Then our communities, businesses, government, churches, families, and our world can be a safer place for us all.

RELATED

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Godly Masculinity – by www.gotquestions.org

 

Sin includes things like:

Pride, unbelief in Jesus/God, idolatry (loving other things/people/ideas/desires more than we love God), greed, addictions, drunkenness, trusting ourselves or things other than God, cursing, hatred, disrespect toward God’s Word, lack of reverence for God, vulgar words, course joking, disobedience to anything God asks us to do, lack of submission to the Lordship of Christ, hurtful words, a critical spirit, disrespecting others, usurping someone’s God-given authority, rudeness, selfishness, self-righteousness (believing we are better than other people spiritually), envy, lying, stealing, taking God’s name in vain, vanity, people pleasing, perfectionism, sexual immorality, lust, apathy, lack of love, lack of faith, legalism, false teaching, false religion, and many other things.

 

 

 

My $10 Bill Incident

Note – Thank you for all who have been praying for my Grandma and my family. Grandma passed away peacefully on June 8th with each of her sons there at her side, holding her hands. She is with Jesus now and will never face sadness, illness, suffering, pain, or death again. We miss her greatly, but we know she is having the best time ever with the Lord and all of her loved ones. We so look forward to seeing her again in heaven.

This is a pic of Grandma with our son about 14 years ago.

It has been a tough month. Things are slowly getting back to a new normal. Thank you for your patience as I spent a lot of time with my Grandma in her final weeks. My prayer continues to be for God’s greatest glory in her life, in her death, and in our response to her death as a family.

——————

MY $10 BILL INCIDENT

I took our children and two of their friends to a nearby store to pick up some pool noodles 2 weeks ago. I quickly found a $10 bill and my wallet and and gave it to my daughter and her friend to go to the register to pay. As they were paying, the cashier kept holding the bill up to the light. Then she called the store manager to look at it. The girls started feeling nervous.

The manager inspected it, glared at me, and quickly announced – loudly in front of all of the other customers – “This bill is FAKE! There is no strip in it, and it is printed crooked.” And she kept it. Didn’t even let me look at it.

I was in total shock!

I had never been accused of passing counterfeit bills before, and was running on about 4 hours of sleep per night for the past month since my grandmother had been so sick. So I gave her a $20 to pay for the 6 pool noodles, and left without the ten dollar bill. All four kids were freaking out. Especially the eleven year olds were traumatized. The cashier and manager looked at them just as hatefully as they looked at me. The girls were so upset.

I called Greg and my dad. I was confused – wondering if the bill really was fake, or if I had just been robbed of $10. If the bill was counterfeit, I wanted to be sure the police had it. But even then, my prayer was, “God, somehow use even this for Your glory!”

(Later, I looked up what I should have done – and apparently I should have called the police if I was accused of unknowingly passing counterfeit money so that if it was found to be legitimate, they could get the money back to me and make sure the manager didn’t pocket it. Just in case you ever need to know.)

Greg’s dad actually went back to the store and talked to the manager and asked to look at the bill.  He got her to give it to him and he took it to the bank.   (So I didn’t call the police.) The cashier at the bank told him that if it was counterfeit, she would have to confiscate the bill – which was totally fine with me. If it was fake, I just wanted it to be in the right hands. The bank called the FBI and confirmed that the bill was actually legitimate. The problem was that it was slightly off-center and it was printed in 1950 – so it was very old. Of course, bills printed in 1950 don’t have strips in them. That is a relatively recent development. And it was odd that it was a bit off-center. I do understand why the cashier and manager were suspicious now.

If it hadn’t had a smudge of dirt on it, it actually would have been worth $20 for a collector.

Whew! What a relief to know that my $10 was totally legit. 

But it got me thinking about counterfeiting. When people make counterfeits, their goal is to make the bill as close to a legitimate bill as possible so that they can deceive people. Of course, they usually don’t make counterfeits of ten dollar bills. Not when they could make $100 bills! The criminals try to imitate every feature perfectly so that no one will notice the bill is fake. Then the unsuspecting victim will think it has great value when actually, the bill is completely worthless.

SATAN IS A COUNTERFEIT MASTER

This is exactly what Satan does. He uses big chunks of the Bible and tries to make false religions/cults look true. He tries to make his lies look like the truth, and if you are not looking closely, they can seem legitimate. But there is always a bit of a twist so that it is not completely true – and so that those who believe his lies will not actually know God at all and not experience His salvation.

What a shock it would be to think you had God and truth – only to find out when it is too late – that you don’t.

Let’s remember what Satan was and who he was before he fell. He was the highest ranking angel – Lucifer. His downfall was his pride. He wanted to be equal to God and worshipped like God. He knows how to disguise himself as an angel of light.

This is why we MUST know the Bible and handle it rightly. This is why we must test the spirits and not just accept what anyone says about God. We need to check the teachings of a pastor, a church, a denomination, a religion, against what the Bible says. If someone preaches another gospel other than what the Bible declares to be true, we are to run away from false teaching. This is a very big deal! We must be able to discern biblical truth from Satanic lies. And, we must remember that Satan plants false teachers in the church, not just in cults and false religions.

Let’s not be naive – Satan also loves to spread counterfeit information about many important topics – masculinity, femininity, marriage, parenting, relationships, God, and everything else. Let’s be willing to question everything and hold it up to the light and scrutinize the messages of our churches, our favorite teachers, our favorite songs, the media we consume, our friends, and our culture. Let’s be alert so that we do not fall prey to the schemes of the enemy to rob and destroy us.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

 

Lord,

Please help us discern – by the power of Your Spirit and by our right handling of Your Word – between truth and lies. Let us run from every counterfeit. Let us only listen to and obey Your voice and Your truth alone. Help us build our lives only on the Solid Rock. And help us not to miss any precious truths of Yours, assuming they are lies, when they really are legitimate and valuable.

Amen!

  • Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
  • For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Cor. 11:13-15
  • I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Rom. 16:7
  • For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 2 Tim. 4:3
  • See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
  • But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. Gal. 1:8

 

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Articles about recognizing false teaching on www.gotquestions.org

Articles about recognizing cults and false religions on www.gotquestions.org

Bible verses about false teaching

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