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Becoming Fearless

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

 

Today, let’s talk about the beauty of a godly woman who doesn’t yield to fear (1 Pet. 3:4-6) This is something the Lord has been teaching me, personally, this year through quite a few trials. I am still learning, but He has brought me a long way! I just had to share these treasures with my precious sisters.

My natural temptation is to look at difficult circumstances, frustrating actions/words from other people, or the news and to completely freak out when bad things happen. My temptation is to react in fear and to run and hide or to try to protect myself in my own wisdom. But when fear is my motive, I will make destructive choices every time.

To be fearless, I can’t:

  • Center my life on the details of the storm of my current circumstances.
  • Obsess about what terrible things might happen.
  • Try to figure everything out myself.
  • Depend on my feelings or past experiences as sources of absolute truth.
  • Try to control things, people, or God to get them to do what I think is best at the time.
  • Become consumed by what other people are doing or saying – or not doing and saying.
  • Resort to human wisdom or human solutions.
  • Listen to the lying voice of the enemy who wants me to give in to hopelessness, discouragement, distraction, depression, and the flesh.

To be fearless, I must keep my focus fully on Jesus and depend on Him to lead me and to do the heavy lifting!

To be fearless, I need to know who Jesus is and know who I am in Him. My security has to be in Him alone.

I don’t have to be shaken. I don’t have to crumble into worry, fear, and anxiety.

Even when things do not go the way I had planned, and I don’t understand what is happening, and even when my heart is hurting and broken, I can stand on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. He alone will never leave me and never fail me. He will sustain me in supernatural ways – even in the midst of my greatest fears. He is my Good Shepherd. He has provisions for me that I can’t know specifically ahead of time. But I can know that He has them and He knows what to do! He has ways of handling circumstances, people, and my own heart and mind that are vastly superior to any scheme I could concoct.

I am in the palm of God’s loving hand! My husband and my children are in the palm of His loving hand!

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7 ESV

Fear is not the abundant life Jesus died to provide for us. His victory over sin, death, and the grave provides a victorious life. He gives us His own Spirit. He gives us His presence. He gives us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven – 24/7!?! He gives us the death, burial, resurrection, power, and authority of Christ. He gives us thousands of great and precious promises! Why should I be afraid?

If we could only grasp even just the following promises God gives us in Romans chapter 8 alone, what spiritual strength we would have!

  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
  • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6 
  • For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. Rom. 8:15
  • (We are)…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:17
  • The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom. 8:26
  • The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:27
  • We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
  • For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, Rom. 8:29
  • If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:31-32
  • No, in all these things (various hardships) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom. 8:37 
  • 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

If I am willing, each new scary thing that happens is an opportunity for me to learn to stand more firmly on God’s Word, His love, and His truth. It is a faith-stretching moment. It is a chance to lay my specific fears down before God and to entrust them to Him. It is also a chance to lay my life down as a living sacrifice to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). It is an opportunity for me to invite God to work supernaturally in my heart, in other people’s lives, and in circumstances for His glory. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to shine for Christ in the darkness and to experience the miraculous provision of God in that exact situation.

I have an incredible Savior and Lord who is going to accomplish His good purposes in my life and in this world as I trust Him!

Lord,

Transform us. Melt away our fear with Your supernatural, amazing love. Lift up our heads. Let us see that You are coming soon! Help us use our time wisely and let each of us be prepared to stand before You without regrets. Empower us to be the godly women You call us to be. Let us love, honor, and respect our husbands. Let us bless them. Let us love, bless, and nurture our children, teaching them Your truth and Your ways. Let us share the Gospel and love and life of Christ with those around us.

Let us be faithful to all that You desire us to do. Empower us to be good stewards of all of the resources, talents, and gifts You have given us. Help us become women of fervent prayer, women who know the Word and handle it rightly.  Use us to stand in the gap for our husbands, children, churches, communities, nations, and the world. Use us – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to help storm the gates of hell to reach those who are perishing. Use us to be salt and light in a decaying, dark world.

We praise and thank You for all You have done, all You are doing and all You will do in our lives! We rejoice and sing songs of adoration to You!

Make each of us fearless in Christ by Your power and for Your glory!

Amen!

RELATED SONG

Francesca Battistelli’s –The Breakup Song (breaking up with fear)

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What are some ways God has shown you to be fearless? We’d love to hear about it!

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Are Women Inferior to Men in God’s Eyes?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Some women think terrible things about God and His relationship with women today. They’ll say things like:

  • God hates women.
  • The Bible is misogynistic.
  • God created women to be inferior to men.
  • Men are more important than women to God.

If that was the kind of God we had, I could understand why a lot of women wouldn’t be excited about loving Him wholeheartedly or yielding to His Lordship. That sounds horrible! Thankfully, this is NOT the message of the Bible.

Of course, many people go the opposite way today, saying that women are superior to men and all men are evil. We humans seem to be obsessed with trying to make one gender inherently more holy and one gender inherently more evil than the other.

How can we know what is really true?

Let’s do a brief overview of what the Bible actually has to say about our worth as women together, precious sisters.

The Bible is our source of absolute truth because it is the infallible Word of God. God’s Word must be the measure we use to determine what is right and what is wrong. If I trust any other source, I am trusting sinful, fallible people and I am not going to find the real truth. When I build my life on God’s Word, I build on Solid Rock rather than sinking sand.

OUR WORTH IN GOD’S EYES:

  • Men and women were both created in the image of God.
    • So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Gen. 1:27
  • God blessed both men and women.  
    • And God blessed them. Gen. 1:28
  • God pronounced that everything He made was very good after He created both man and woman.
    • And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Gen. 1:31
  • God created man first, then He created woman with a very special purpose.
    • Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen. 2:18
    • The word “helper” is the same word that is used about the Holy Spirit being our helper. It is not a derogatory term, but a powerful and good term.
    • God did create men and women to be different from each other. He created unique roles for each one.
    • In God’s economy, “different” doesn’t mean one is less valuable and having equal worth doesn’t mean we are identical.
  • God designed for women to be unconditionally loved, cherished, and honored in marriage to demonstrate the way Jesus loves, cherishes, and honors His Bride, the Church. God created marriage to be a permanent, life-long covenant between a husband and wife that is the primary example of His love for His people.
    • Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Gen. 2:24
    • Marriage is to be a living picture of the beautiful relationship between Jesus and His church where the husband is to portray the selfless love, leadership, humility, and sacrifice of Jesus for the church and the wife is to portray the admiration, cooperative spirit, honor, and love of the church for Jesus – Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Men and women both sinned and are equally cursed because of sin and equally in need of a Savior. We are all in the same boat. There is no room for any of us to be prideful that we are “better” than anyone else. Only God is good. People have no goodness in ourselves because of sin. Some of the curse of sin impacts men and women differently, but we are all cursed because of sin and rebellion against God. And we are all subject to death because of our sin.
    • The curse for men, women, and the serpent – Genesis 3 
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Rom. 3:23-24
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23
    • 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
    • The gospel is for all people – men and women – and all have equal ability to become children of God through Jesus and the cross.
    • We all have equal access to God through Jesus.
    • All men and women are to submit absolutely to the Lordship of Christ.
  • In Christ, all people have equal worth/value and equal access to all that He has done for us.
    • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28
    • But because of his great love for us (all believers), God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7
  • Women are co-heirs with Jesus and with our husbands as children of God and are to be treated with dignity and honor. In God’s economy all people are to be treated with love, respect, dignity, and honor.
    • Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Rom. 8:17
    • Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Pet. 3:7

THE TWO GREATEST COMMANDS

There are two commands Jesus says are the greatest in all the world for all of us – men and women (Matt. 22:36-40):

  1. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
  2. To love others as we love ourselves. (This includes all people)

The Second Greatest Commandment means that all believers in Christ are to love all people with the very agape love of God found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

And all believers are to be Spirit-filled so that the fruit of all of our lives include the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control of God in the way we interact with all other people (Gal. 5:22-23).

When we are in right standing and relationship with God through Jesus, He completely transforms our ability – as men and women – to have healthy relationships with other people. We want to treat others well – with love, value, respect, and honor.

AUTHORITY DOES NOT EQUAL WORTH IN GOD’S KINGDOM

I believe some of the greatest misunderstandings people have about God, the Bible, and women come from the worldly expectation that “people who have positions of authority have greater worth.” The president of the company makes a lot more money, in our society, than the janitor, for example. That may be how things are for  the world, but in God’s economy, a person’s worth is a function of God’s love for him/her and that person being created by God in His image.

Our worth is not related to our function, talents, gifts, or roles in various areas of our lives in God’s eyes.

An unborn or newborn baby has great value and worth in God’s sight, but the baby has zero authority. Widows and orphans have great worth in God’s sight, but in many cultures throughout history and even today, they often have had no authority or standing in society and no ability to provide for themselves. That is why God has created positions of authority to protect these people He loves so dearly. God does not show favoritism.

Jesus is God, He is part of the Godhead. He submitted Himself humbly to the authority of the Father, and yet He was equal to the Father. His submission was out of love for God and out of reverence for God’s government. The example of authority/submission in the Godhead has nothing to do with worth – it is about love, provision, and order.

GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE

  • There are different positions of authority that are delegated by God to accomplish His will in our lives. He chooses to lead us through certain means. This is God’s system of spiritual government and order: government leaders, police/military, work leaders, church leaders, family leaders (husbands and parents). It is critical to understand that in God’s economy, positions of authority are not related to a person’s worth. In fact, God generally uses the stronger people to protect the more vulnerable, weak, and precious ones.
    • Spiritual Authority – This post contains most of the verses in Scripture about God’s design for His system of government and order in all areas of our lives.
    • People in positions of spiritual authority (both male and female) are to do God’s will and His work. They are not permitted to abuse or sin against anyone by God.
  • When God gives someone a position of authority, it is to protect, bless, shepherd, care for, nurture, and lead the ones in that person’s care into God’s will. It is never for the leader to be a selfish, abusive, unloving, prideful tyrant. The leader is to imitate the very love, humility, sacrifice, and selflessness of Jesus for His beloved Bride.
    • Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matt. 20:25-26
  • All people in positions of God-given authority, all believers, and all unbelievers answer to Jesus in the end.
    • And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matt. 28:18
    • Great White Throne Judgement

PRAYER

Lord,

Please heal the areas of our hearts, minds, and souls where we have misunderstood Your heart and Your love for men and women. Help us to see and reject the lies we have embraced that are so toxic. Help us to build our lives on Your Word, Your truth, Your love, and Your goodness. Help us to seek Your will above everything else. Help us to find all of our identity and security in Christ, not in anything the world may try to say. And help us to become the radiant, peaceful, joyful, Spirit-filled, holy women You call us to be. Use us to radically impact our families and this world for Your kingdom!

Amen!

 

RELATED POSTS

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus

What Is the Gospel? – by www.gotquestions.org

Is There Such a Thing As Absolute Truth? – by www.gotquestions.org

Biblical Womanhood and the Problem of the Old Testament – Trillia Newbell, www.desiringgod.org

Articles about Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – from www.desiringgod.org

Is There Misogyny in the Bible? – by www.gotquestions.org

Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Command a Rape Victim to Marry Her Rapist? – by www.gotquestions.org

Is God/the Bible Sexist? – by www.gotquestions.org

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

Is Feminist Theology Biblical? – by www.gotquestions.org

How Should a Christian View Misandry? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Spousal/Marital Rape? – by www.gotquestions.org

Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit into Our Lives as Believers?

 

BOOKS TO HELP US DISCERN BETWEEN WORLDLY THINKING AND BIBLICAL THINKING

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood downloadable book edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Radical Womanhood – Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley

The Feminist Mistake – the Radical Impact of Feminism on the Church and Culture  by Mary Kassian

The Feminist Gospel – The Movement to Unite Feminism with the Church by Mary Kassian

 

VIDEOS

David Platt’s videos on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

 

 

Can I Be a Sexually Immoral Christian?

Photo by mark chaves on Unsplash

Here’s the short answer:

Nope.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  I Corinthians 6:9-11

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Eph. 5:3

No sin is compatible with Christ.

Sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark.”  Sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s standard of holy perfection. If we miss the target by 1/2 an inch. That is a “sin.”  If we miss it by 100 feet, that is also a “sin.”

If we cherish and cling to sin  – ANY sin – we forfeit the power of the Holy Spirit working in us if we are believers.  Sin deeply grieves the Spirit of God. God cannot tolerate the presence of even microscopic amounts of sin. He is HOLY. And He calls us to live holy lives – free from all sin. God’s Spirit dwells in us if we are believers. We are His temple. But we can grieve God’s Spirit and lose fellowship with Him (Ephesians 4).

If Christ is our Lord, we don’t lose our salvation if we sin – but we stop abiding in Christ and we lose the power of His Spirit that we need to live in obedience to Him. We lose the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-33) and begin to be controlled again by the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21).

And if Christ is our Lord – we will not be ok with losing His fellowship. God’s Spirit will work on us to convict us and bring us to repentance quickly unless we harden our hearts.

Of course, if we have never received Christ as our Savior and LORD, we don’t have the Holy Spirit to start with – so God is not in us. Maybe we walked down the aisle at church, said a prayer, and filled out a card, but there was no heart and life change. Maybe we think we are Christians, because we go to church sometimes, but we really don’t know God and don’t have any desire to live for Him or to seek His will. We may, in that situation, be able to live in sin and not have any prick of conscience. In this state, it is possible to call oneself a “Christian” and to continue in major sin. But that is only because we don’t realize what it means to be a Christian.

I cannot embrace sin AND Jesus.  I must choose one or the other.

That sounds really radical, right?

In our own power – it IS COMPLETELY impossible for us to live sinless lives.  We HAVE to have God’s Spirit living in us or we can’t begin to do this. God says that our own attempts at right living and holiness look like “dirty, bloody, filthy menstrual rags” in His sight. Isaiah 64:6. There is nothing good in us on our own. We are all wretched sinners.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
  • Jesus answered, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

Jesus talks about the cost of following Him – and it is Lordship:

  • Anyone who loves Me will obey Me… if anyone does not obey Me, he does not love Me. John 14:22,24
  • Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39

Someone who belongs to Christ cares about what Jesus cares about. 

If I claim Christ as my Savior and LORD, then HE is my greatest priority and love. By a long shot. Knowing Him is my most passionate goal. Pleasing Him is what I long to do more than anything out of thankfulness and amazement for all that He has done to die in my place and take the wrath of God I deserved upon Himself. I don’t obey Him to “earn” heaven. I can’t earn heaven. Only Jesus can earn heaven. Only He lived a perfect life that was totally pleasing to God. I obey Him because I am overflowing with love and gratitude to Him because of what He did for me.

If Jesus is my LORD and my God – He can ask me to do anything and I can only say with joy, “YES, LORD!”

  • If you do not have Jesus as the Lord of your life – or you have questions, please ask me!! I’m glad to talk with you about how you can know Jesus and have the eternal life He offers to you! Leave me a comment, please!

When Jesus is my Lord, He changes my heart, my desires, my priorities, my thoughts and my character. I DIE to my old sinful nature, it is crucified with Christ on the cross and I put on my new nature in Christ and live in the power of His Spirit. I am a new creation! Old things have passed away. Now I live for God.

If I enjoy something God clearly labels as sin or have no qualms with allowing that thing a place in my life – something is seriously wrong.  

If I can sit and wallow in wrongdoing of any type – and feel no shame and feel no urgency to repent and no grief at what I am doing to Jesus – I am spiritually dead and I do not know Him, or at the very best, I am in a spiritual coma. I need to immediately investigate whether I am saved. The solution is the same either way. I must admit my wrongdoing and turn from it to Jesus and yield my life to His Lordship.

Someone who belongs to Christ and is alive to Him will:

  • hunger for Him
  • thirst for God’s Word
  • desire to know God more
  • have spiritual appetites for God’s presence, prayer and God’s Word
  • long to live a righteous, holy life

Having a physical appetite is a sign of physical health and life. Dead people don’t get hungry for food. Having a spiritual appetite is a sign of spiritual health and life. Spiritually dead people have no desire for the things of God.

There is NO sin that can be welcome in my life if Christ is truly my Lord. (**Please see the list at the bottom of the post)

If I want to know Christ and abide in Him and experience His power in my life and be with Him in heaven – I must be willing to give up my sin! ALL of it!

This is called, Dying to Self .

Jesus is worthy of all of our devotion, love, obedience, worship, and submission.

We don’t come to Him just be be able to check our list “Oh, now I can go to heaven, I said a prayer and ‘asked Jesus into my heart’ and I can live however I want to.”

  • That is not Christianity – not by Jesus’ definition.

We come to Him because we know that we need Him and we love Him and nothing else matters but having Him as our Savior and Lord in this life. And when we come to Him, we come in awe, in humility, and in reckless abandonment – willing to give all that we are and all that we have to Him that we might be daily living sacrifices for His glory.  His glory and His will are all that we care about now.

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

If you realize you have been cherishing sin – you can turn away from it today and turn to Christ!  That is called repentance. We turn completely away from sin in disgust, agreeing with God that it is wrong, and turn fully to Jesus. We decide not to give sin any place in our lives anymore.

He can forgive your sin!

He died to pay for our sins so that He could provide a way for us to be right with God. Get on your face before God and weep over your sin!  Tell Him you agree that what you have done is wrong. Beg Him to forgive You. Claim the power of His death on the cross on your behalf – and surrender your life to Him. Let Him be in charge now. Give Him control of every part of your life. Hold nothing back.  Seek to know Him, to love Him and to live for Him alone from this point on!

Get rid of everything that is a stumbling block for you:

  • Delete all the phone numbers of any guys you may have been in contact with that were inappropriate.
  • Copy your husband on correspondence with other men as appropriate. (You may not be able to copy him on work emails, but you can on other things.)
  • Stop reading romantic novels and/or watching romantic movies if they create resentment and jealousy in your heart, even if they are rated G.
  • Get rid of social media if you feel depressed when you read people’s posts or you feel deprived when you see how other people portray their relationships.
  • Put Covenant Eyes or other software on your devices to keep yourself from having access to porn and inappropriate material if that is a temptation.
  • Stop responding to your old boyfriend or that guy from church when they instant message you on FB.
  • Completely stop flirting with any other man (or woman – if you struggle with same sex attraction) but your own husband.
  • Avoid private conversations or meetings with people who may be tempting.
  • Avoid being alone with other men and avoid even the appearance of evil.
  • Refuse to respond to or have contact with any man who acts inappropriately toward you.
  • Avoid threatening or seeking a separation without biblical grounds.
  • Avoid threatening divorce without biblical grounds.
  • If you realize you are daydreaming about another man or lusting after another man, stop. Recognize this is sin. Repent to the Lord. (If you have sinned against your husband, there are times you may need to repent to him, too, depending on the situation.) Turn your heart to the Lord and to your husband and invite God to empower you to take your thoughts captive for Christ.

The world says that freedom is the power to do whatever we want, even if it destroys us or other people.

God’s definition of freedom is that we have the power to live holy lives that please Him and we are free from the prison of sin!

WILL WE BE COMPLETELY PERFECT AFTER WE REPENT?

We won’t be totally sinless until we reach heaven’s gates. We still have access to our old sinful nature and can choose to sin as believers in Christ and we can stumble at times. Thankfully, we don’t ever have to sin, though, because God promises He will provide a way out from all temptation if we look to Him! If we stay filled up with the Spirit, we can walk in Jesus’ power over sin.

If Christ is our LORD – we will hate sin and do everything possible to avoid it and to guard our hearts from temptation. If we do stumble, we will immediately repent and turn back to Him and seek Him with all our hearts.

 

HEBREWS 10  – a very sober warning to us all to live in fear, awe and trembling before the God of heaven.

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

ROMANS 6 – We are no longer slaves to sin if we are in Christ Jesus!

 

RELATED:

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

How to Avoid Adultery/Immorality – 7 minute YouTube video

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Signs Your Husband Feels Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Influencing a Husband for Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

Dying to Self

A Big Lightbulb Moment about True Contentment

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

 

A SHORT LIST OF POSSIBLE SIN (not an exhaustive list)

  • pride
  • idolatry (putting my love for other things/people/desires before God in my life – like my desire for a man, marriage, romance, beauty, children, popularity, fame, money, etc…)
  • any addictions (drugs, alcohol, food, anorexia, bulimia, gambling, social media, etc…)
  • lust/pornography
  • sexual immorality/homosexuality/fornication/adultery/bi-sexuality
  • stealing
  • lies
  • self-righteousness (thinking we are better than other people)
  • forgetting God
  • prayerlessness
  • cheating
  • bribery
  • a short temper
  • contempt, hatred
  • trying to control others
  • people pleasing
  • resentment, bitterness
  • unforgiveness
  • selfishness
  • greed
  • materialism
  • heresy/ungodly teachings
  • worldliness
  • gossip
  • complaining
  • contentiousness
  • apathy towards the Word of God, apathy towards the things of God
  • lack of love for God
  • lack of love for people
  • lack of concern for the poor, the abused, the mistreated, the sick, the imprisoned, the lost
  • and many other things I don’t have room to list here…

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.

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.

 

 

 

Are You Able to Say, “No”?

 

Sometimes we struggle with telling people, “No.” We don’t want to seem selfish or ungodly. We don’t want to disappoint or upset people. Being a people pleaser can seem like a good thing, but it it actually very toxic. Saying, “No,” is a critical life-skill we all need.

The goal is, we should be able to say, “Yes,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so, and we should be able to say, “No,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so.

If we always say, “Yes,” that is a problem. If we always say, “No,” that is also a problem. There should be balance so that we have godly discernment and can wisely determine when to say yes and when to say no.

Ultimately, let’s always say yes to God and no to anything that is not of Him!

This always requires the wisdom, discernment, and leading of the Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for seeking Him in prayer and seeking His will in each situation.

Some times when “No” is appropriate:

  • Someone is asking you to clearly sin or go against God’s Word, even if that person is in a position of authority in your life.
  • When anything sinful is a temptation or anything that is clearly the invitation of the enemy.
  • When someone is clearly sinning against you – there are certainly times you may need to lovingly, humbly, respectfully confront them.
  • When something would violate your conscience may be a time to say no – after praying carefully about it and studying God’s Word (Rom. 14).
  • When you are not actually able to do what the person has asked – either because of time restrictions, physical limitations, financial limitations, or other reasons.
  • When someone is asking you to do something you really don’t want to do and your motives are pure. There are times when it is wise to thank them for the offer but to kindly refuse.
  • When saying, “Yes,” to this person would require you to say, “No,” to something more important.
  • If you are going to resent the person if you say, “Yes,” there can be times it is better to decline.
  • When saying, “Yes,” would end up filling up your schedule so much that you don’t have time for God. If you are empty spiritually, you will have nothing to give to bless others.
  • When something would cause you to be a poor steward of your time, abilities, your health, your body, your walk with Christ, your soul, your finances, or God’s calling on your life.
  • Someone is trying to hurt you or commit a crime against you. This can require a very firm, “No,” and you may need to contact the police or other appropriate authorities.
  • When you have prayed about something and you know that this thing is not of God and is not God’s will in your life.
  • If your husband is not on board with something, that is often a sign that God has closed that door.
  • When something is a good thing, but is going to take too much time and isn’t in line with God’s assignment for you in that season. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to automatically say, “Yes.” Pray about it. Do what God calls you to do.

Some times when “Yes” is appropriate:

  • When you are saying, “Yes,” to God and to anything He has for you even if it is scary – whether His Spirit is prompting you or His Word is directing you.
  • When you know that God has a particular ministry or task for you to do – even if you don’t feel like doing it.
  • When someone in a position of authority in your life asks you to do something that is not sinful – even if you don’t feel like doing it – honor God’s order in every arena of life out of reverence for Christ. (The exception is if the leader asks you to sin, go against God or His Word, do something illegal, or the leader tries to abuse his/her authority.)
    • If a police officer pulls you over – cooperate with him/her. Be respectful. Honor and obey what the officer asks you to do.
    • Honor the laws of the land.
    • Honor government officials out of reverence for Christ and so that you do not bring judgment on yourself (Rom. 13:1-3)
    • If your boss asks you to do something that is not against God’s Word, honor your boss’s leadership.
    • Cooperate with your husband’s God-given leadership position appropriately.
    • Use your influential authority wisely and…
      • Of course, if you have concerns, you may respectfully share them in appropriate ways.
  • When something would help you be a better steward of your life, your health, your body, your time, your finances, your soul, and God’s calling on your life.
  • When this particular activity is clearly in line with God’s will and His priorities for your life.
  • When you believe God desires you to do something in order to pour His love and blessing into the lives of others and you have right motives.

Let’s be honest about our yes and no.

  • Let’s mean yes when we say yes.
  • Let’s mean no when we say no.

It is not a good thing to say yes and resent other people because we feel like they should know we really didn’t want to do something. Let’s not expect others to read our minds – but answer in simple, straightforward, and vulnerable ways.

  • I like that.
  • I don’t want to do that.
  • I would prefer to do this, instead.
  • No, please stop!
  • Yes, I would love to do that.

We can say, “No,” respectfully and clearly (and without a lot of explanation – which tends to just get us in more trouble – in my experience, at least):

  • No, thank you.
  • I’m sorry, I can’t.
  • That is not going to work for me.
  • That would go against God’s Word, so I am not able to participate.

No is a gift just as much as yes. When God says, “No,” to us – it is because He loves us and wants something better for us. When we say, “No,” to something that is not best for us or for others, our decision is a gift, as well, for the other person, as well as for ourselves.

VERSES:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. t teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

RELATED:

The Snare of People Pleasing

Perfectionism

Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

anderlust-2

Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

RELATED

 

God Is Asking Me to Do Something HARD – but Good!

Photo by Peter Aschoff on Unsplash

I spent some time over the past month praying, asking God what was blocking me from growing more in my faith. I know there are so many more things God wants to show me and that my faith could be much stronger. It is a question I want to ask myself and the Lord every so often. He showed me that I have been too distracted. Like – WAY too distracted. Mostly by comments and emails related to ministry stuff – I can easily spend about 2 hours per day, 7 days per week on that. And I often check comments and emails multiple times an hour. Ack! I am addicted!

So God is asking me to do something different. At least for a time.

He is asking me to give up my comment section on my blogs and my ministry-related emails for Lent.

This year Lent runs from 2-14-18 through 3-28-18. I have never really observed Lent before. But the Lord has made it clear to me that He wants to take me much deeper with Him. He is saying to me:

“Come away with Me and rest for awhile.”

Well, my precious sisters (and brothers), I can’t possibly turn down an invitation like that from my Lord! How sweet that He wants me to Himself for a bit. And that the time starts on Valentine’s Day. I want to always be willing to drop anything for Him. If I am not doing things His way, and not depending on His power, any ministry I do will be worthless.

And now, with it being about 6 weeks until the launch of The Peaceful Mom book and with all He wants to do in my life, my ministry, my own church, this ministry, the church as a whole, and in America – He is calling me to 40 days of fasting from online ministry connections.

Honestly, this is really hard! It’s painful. And – a bit anxiety-producing, at first. (Which just proved to me that I really am way too addicted to constantly checking my messages.) I’m awful at resting and slowing down. But I definitely see that I need this. And I want to take this big step with the Lord.

I love all of you, my readers. You are very dear to me. I feel so connected to you and love to be here with you and be here for you. I love the interaction, love, camaraderie, and fellowship we share here.

Some questions began to pop into my mind:

  • What if my readers need me?
  • What if they feel abandoned?
  • What if they can’t find what they need on my site?
  • What if this hurts my ministry to them? Forty days is a long time!
  • What if people quit reading my blog because I am not available for 6 weeks?
  • What if it hurts my book launch on March 27th?

dimitri-tyan-261850

(Photo by Dimitri Tyan on Unsplash

Of course, God had some really amazing answers for me:

  • Your readers are My precious lambs. I am holding them in my arms. They are Mine first. I will never leave them or forsake them. Even if you take a break that I want you to take. I will take care of them.
  • “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” – John 14:6. As they seek Me first, they will find everything they need.
  • I’ve got them. You have left plenty of still water and green grass all over your sites for them to eat. I’ll help them find what they need on your sites and – most of all – in My Word.
  • You are exalting yourself way too much, April. Watch that pride! They really don’t need your advice and personal counsel. They need Me. My Spirit, My truth, My wisdom, My Word, and My power.
  • I’m going to show you that I can bless your ministry even if the comments are closed. I can use this site even if you aren’t there to answer comments every day for an extended period of time. I am the key here. Not you.
  • I want and deserve your full, undivided attention.
  • You need to rest in me and be still for awhile. I have a lot of things I want to show you. And I want to prepare and equip you for the major things I am about to do that will blow your mind. But I can’t do that if you constantly too busy to stop and listen and fellowship with Me more deeply.
  • The times you grow the most are the times you take a break from ministry for a bit. When you come back filled up with much more of Me, you will share that overflow with your sisters and they will be greatly blessed, too. This will be a win for you and for them.
  • I want you to set them a godly example of how to step back and take a break and be spiritually replenished. Many of them need to do something similar to come away with Me during this time, too.

I believe He wants me to:

  • Be still in Him.
  • Wait on Him.
  • Rest in Him.
  • Soak in His presence.
  • Praise Him.
  • Thank Him.
  • Seek Him more than ever.
  • Receive much more from Him.
  • Soak in His Word and goodness.
  • Allow Him to restore my soul.
  • Listen to His voice more than ever.
  • Be ready to hear His new vision for my ministry going forward.
  • Depend completely on Him, not myself, in ways I have never experienced before.
  • Pray more intently for each of you, my readers, than ever for God to radically transform your lives, your marriages, and your families for His glory by the power of His Spirit.

 

In the past 9 years of my journey, I have told God that I wanted to obey ANYTHING He instructed me to do. And that if He ever wanted me to give up anything, I wanted to obey. So I am laying down comments and any kind of ministry emails until 3-29-18. I will still be posting at times, as God leads. But the comments will be closed starting on Valentine’s Day. I just wanted to keep you in the loop! Can’t wait to see all that the Lord wants to do in that 6 weeks and to share with you all again soon.

Much love to each of you!

Comments are still open today and Tuesday. 🙂

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