Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

open double door

Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.

As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.

He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.

In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:

  • We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
  • We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.

We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.

Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.

This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.

  1. Get rid of the spiritual poison.
  2. Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

Demonic Possession

Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

  • Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
  • Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
  • Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
  • And other things, as well.

Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.

But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.

Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.

But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.

We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.

Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.

Demonic Oppression

Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:

  • Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
  • Intense fear.
  • A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
  • Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
  • Physical illness, at times.
  • No appetite for God or His Word.
  • Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
  • Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
  • Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
  • Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.

Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.

All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.

We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.

  • Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
  • Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
  • Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
  • Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
  • Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.

We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.

But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

  • The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
  • Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
  • Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
  • Playing with temptation.
  • Fascination with demons.
  • Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
  • Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
  • Isolating ourselves from other believers.
  • Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
  • Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
  • Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
  • Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).

Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.

Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

  • Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
  • Yielding my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
  • Speaking the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
  • Singing praise songs to Jesus.
  • Thinking about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
  • Resisting Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
  • Praying for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
  • Other believers praying for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
  • Getting rid of any lies and replacing them and rebuilding our lives on God’s truth
  • Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)

Freedom in Christ

The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.

When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.

They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.

When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.

I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.

Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.

Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.

The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.

We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.

We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.

We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

Radiant’s story of spiritual oppression due to believing demonic lies that resulted in severe illness, to the point of being almost an invalid.

Radiant’s story of the spiritual healing that is available to each of us in Jesus.

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life

If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.

What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?

man standing on top of mountain

This is a joint post written by Nneka Simone (her words are in blue), April, and some anonymous wives’ examples. I appreciate the input, ladies!

We talked in my last post about 6 times when we may need to prayerfully consider breaking (or minimizing) contact with others. One of those scenarios is if our husband feels it would be best for us not to have contact with someone (please see the caveats in the post for times not to cooperate with this).

Of course, breaking contact completely is a pretty extreme response and should be reserved for certain situations as a last resort. It shouldn’t be our go-to response for most issues as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage if we use it when it is not needed.

But what if it the scenario is reversed?

If you believe that a situation is harmful to your husband, the marriage, yourself, your children, or your family, you do have the ability (and sometimes the responsibility) to share your concerns with your husband.

Husbands have God-given positional authority and wives have God-given influential authority.

We do have an incredible ability as wives to influence our husbands for good or for evil.

It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.

Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.

Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.

This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.

The key is that we share respectfully and with right motives.

Nneka’s Take

Nneka Simone

It would be very tempting to react in the flesh and try to force your husband to cut people off by acting in the following ways:

Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.

Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.

Give your husband an ultimatum.

Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.

Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.

Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.

Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.

Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.

Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.

Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.

Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.

If we resort to these destructive tactics, we would repel our husbands. Our husbands would likely feel protective of their friends and defensive about their decisions. Our husbands would likely react in destructive ways and may even eventually form closer bonds with the friends we disapprove of.  

I can’t force my way, but I can make requests and suggestions.

If my husband knows that I love and respect him highly, and he also has great love and respect for me, he will likely care about my feelings and concerns. He will prayerfully weigh my words, if he is a believer.

Even if he is not a believer, if we have some level of mutual love and respect going on, he will probably be concerned if something is causing an alarm bell for me.

All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.

However, there are many different possible scenarios. This approach may not be exactly what you need in every situation.

We need the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Spirit to know exactly how to approach our husband, especially if things are not going well, at the time.

There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent and pray. The only way to really know the difference is that we must be in close fellowship with the Lord.

NOTE – If it is a really dangerous situation, there are times we have a responsibility to call the police or reach out for help. This post is not intended to be a resource for life-threatening situations. Please involve all of the proper authorities immediately if you believe someone is truly in danger or being threatened. I am also assuming in this post that your husband is in his right mind. That he is not high, drunk, dealing with significant uncontrolled mental illness, or involved in serious unrepentant sin.

A Time to Speak

If you believe it is a time to speak up, some options may be to prayerfully consider saying things like:

  • I have a bad feeling about this person.
  • My “Spidey senses” are tingling about her. She seems like trouble to me.
  • I would like it if we both have X, Y, Z boundaries on our marriage to guard our hearts and help us avoid temptation. What boundaries do you believe we should have to protect our marriage?
  • May I have your permission to speak into your life? (If he says, “yes,” then I can gently share what I see that I believe the Lord desires me to share.)
  • I feel like that friend is disrespectful of our marriage/you/me/the kids.
  • I love that you are such a great friend to X. Sometimes, though, I would really love it if we could have more time with you.
  • I’m afraid you may be getting taken advantage of here and that makes me feel sad.
  • This situation makes me nervous.
  • It seems to me that this person undermines our authority as parents to our children. That’s not okay.
  • I feel like this person is trying to hurt our marriage/family/you/me.
  • I really don’t want us to be around him again unless he is willing to apologize for what he did and make some real changes.
  • I don’t feel safe around her because of X. I don’t want our kids to be near her.
  • These days, a man really can’t afford to be alone with a woman, even if he does nothing wrong. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I think Billy Graham’s standard was very wise for men and for women.
  • I don’t like this situation at all.
  • What this person is teaching doesn’t seem to align with scripture. What do you think?
  • I don’t trust this person.

**Remember to use a friendly tone of voice and body language!

Most of the time, simply, respectfully sharing your concern like this is enough.

He will get the picture and he’ll mull over what he wants to do with this new information. Even if he doesn’t talk about his thoughts, he will think about it. I promise!

Nneka’s Take

Constructive ways to handle this:

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rom. 14:13

A godly path to deal with such a situation would be to do the following:

1. Take your concerns to God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

Ask God to remove unhealthy influences from your husband’s life and fully trust that He will find a way to do it. Don’t give in to despair. Understand that God is in control. Keep giving thanks to God for his sovereignty. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.

2. Speak the truth in love.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Eph. 4:15

Gently and lovingly express your concern about your husband’s associates to him, without insisting that he cuts off ties with them. 

3. Pray for your husband’s associates. 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

Your focus should always be on the state of your husband’s soul and his associates’ souls. 

If your concern is about a friend who is a heavy drinker, drug addict, adulterer, or caught in significant sin, pray for that person to see the light and change his ways or to simply cut off ties with your husband.

Pray that God will open your husband’s eyes to that person’s influence on him. Even after that person stops contacting your husband, continue to pray for his salvation.

If your concern is about a woman who is trying to tempt your husband into an affair, it’s only natural that you may feel really hurt, angry and threatened by her intentions to ruin your marriage. However, God wants us to pray for those who hurt us and treat us badly.

We can pray for salvation, for their eyes to be opened, for conviction of sin and godly sorrow and true repentance. We can pray for spiritual healing and regeneration in Christ. We can pray the power of Scripture over the people who are toxic and over our husbands, children, and ourselves.

4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities

Think about his strengths and the many wise and loving decisions your husband has made. You would not have married your husband if you didn’t see a lot of good in him. Rather than focusing on his few poor choices, focus on all the things that made you fall in love with him. It would be wise to start making a list of his good qualities and good choices to add to it daily. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8

What if he still doesn’t break contact with the other person?

If you have shared your feelings about a situation respectfully, and he continues on in contact with someone you feel is too toxic, there are several things that could be going on:

  • He may have a different perspective.
  • He may try to minimize contact, but he may feel he can’t completely break contact, depending on the situation.
  • He may feel the person is not as toxic as you believe he/she is.
  • He may believe that to completely break contact would create a lot of unnecessary drama and he may think there is a better solution.
  • He may have different personal convictions – not that one of you is wrong – you may just have different definitions of how exactly to guard your heart or marriage.
  • The Lord may be leading him in a different direction that you don’t know about yet.
  • It may take some time for him to decide how to address the situation. Sometimes, you may just need to be patient, depending on the issue at hand.
  • He may decide to confront the person directly rather than just break contact. He may feel it is a Matthew 18:15-17 situation.
  • He may know something you don’t know that changes what the best approach might be.
  • It may take him a bit more time to see the danger you see.
  • It is possible that he has a more accurate view of what is happening than you do. All of us can be wrong at times.
  • Sometimes, husbands mess up, too. Sometimes they make poor choices or even sinful choices. They have free will, just like we do. It is a gift, but it can bring a lot of pain. You can’t control him, but you can decide how the Lord desires you to respond even if he doesn’t make the best decisions. There are times we need to confront sin.
  • Or, this may simply be an issue for you to take to the Lord in prayer.

Depending on the situation and on the Lord’s leading, there may be a time to address the issue again, eventually. Or God may direct you to simply pray and wait and let Him work. God can change a husband’s heart, our perspective, or He may even change the circumstances and other people.

My next post covers the issue of a husband who doesn’t seem to care what his wife says, feels, or thinks. That situation is going to require some adjustments in our approach depending on the root causes.

NOTE – If you realize that you expect your husband to break all ties with all of his family members, all of his friends, all of his coworkers, everyone at church, and everyone in every area of his life, then we are dealing with an entirely different issue. Please check out these posts.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

The Las Vegas Story

One of my favorite stories is from a reader of mine whose unbelieving husband wanted to go to Las Vegas with his single friend. The wife respectfully let her husband know she didn’t think the trip was a good idea. He went on with his plans. She and I prayed. The Lord intervened in a mind-blowing way. It was amazing!

The wife whose husband’s friends drank:

My husband has had friends who drank heavily and my husband started drinking heavily as well. Even driving drunk and getting into minor accidents. Me getting angry, crying, and complaining about his drinking and his irresponsible friends didn’t help matters at all.

I started praying that God would remove these people from my husband’s life and each time, God did!

One day each of those friends inexplicably stopped calling my husband. I was extremely relieved and happily told my husband “Jesus took care of it!” 

My husband no longer drinks heavily and I always joke with him that if he ever makes friends who drink heavily again, I’ll just pray them away.

My husband now has great respect for my prayers for him. When I ask him what he wants me to pray for, he always says “I know that you always want the best for me so pray for me however you want”. 

The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:

My husband has also had friends who consumed his time and constantly bombarded him with requests for favors and loans. I told him several times “A friend who always wants something from you is not a true friend. He’s just using you.” My husband never took my advice and would keep defending his friends and insisting that they care about him.

I gave up and stopped talking about it. I just took the issue to God.

Shortly after, my husband realized that he was being used and distanced himself from them. That “friend” actually moved out of the country without saying goodbye and made no effort to keep in touch. I was very relieved because I hate to see my husband being used by anyone. 

We have tremendous power in praying for our husbands once we approach the issue from a place of prayer and trust in God’s power over all situations.

Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending

Examples where things didn’t go the way the believer in Christ hoped, at least at first, but God was still very much at work:

SHARE

If you would like to share some godly wisdom you have learned in ways that will honor the Lord and your husband and anyone else who was involved, we’d love to hear about it. (Let’s not share specific details of wrongs others committed, though, please. Thanks!)

God Always Answers This Kind of Prayer

Precious sisters in Christ,

We all want God to hear and respond to our prayers for ourselves, our families, and everything else. Sometimes, we feel that God is not listening and that is incredibly discouraging. How can we know if He is really listening? Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t hide the truth from us but reveals how we are to approach God so that we can know we will be heard.

Lord,

Speak to each of our hearts today in these quiet moments. Draw us to Your loving heart. Show us the areas where You want to cleanse us from things that hurt us. Help us to be sensitive to Your Word and Your Spirit. Transform us by Your power. Make us into godly, holy, peaceful women who love You far more than anything or anyone in this world. Pour Your abundant Life and love into us and through us. Make us fruitful for Your kingdom in every area of our lives for Your glory!

Amen!

There are times God doesn’t listen to our prayers.

Of course God is omnipresent and omniscient. So He knows what we are doing, thinking, and praying. It’s not that he literally “can’t hear us.” But He doesn’t always listen and respond to us. The Bible speaks to this issue in verses like:

  • If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Ps. 66:18
  • If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. Prov. 28:9
  • Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil. Micah 3:4
  • For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Pet. 3:12
  • You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3

God is absolutely holy. If we come to Him, we must first be willing to give up anything He calls sin.

If we come to Him with sinful and selfish motives, or if we are coddling sin in our hearts (any kind of sin), we are not approaching Him properly. He has given us the means to approach Him rightly through Jesus and His finished work on the cross and through the resurrection. And He has given us instructions in His Word about the prerequisites He reqiures for us to approach Him in the Holy of holies.

God Will Always Hear This

If we invite God to show us sin in our lives so that we can repent, He will always answer this prayer.

This is how I got started on my journey 10.5 years ago, actually. I had been praying (demanding) for God to change my husband for over 14 years. But on October 12, 2008, I realized there were serious problems in our marriage. I thought I had been an amazing Christian wife up until that point. For the first time, I humbled myself and laid literally on my face on the floor for 3 days before God in utter desperation, begging Him to show me my sin and to show me if I was doing anything that contributed to the sad state of our marriage.

Within 6 weeks, He opened my eyes to the mountain of sin in my own life to which I had been completely blind for years.

Then I begged Him to change me. I stopped making prideful and self-righteous demands about Greg. I was broken and mortified over my sin and just wanted God to take away my sin and change and heal my life. I consciously decided to completely trust God instead of self. I stepped down off of the “throne” in my life and invited Jesus to sit in His rightful place. It was terrifying, at first. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff. But to put all my faith in Christ and to yield to His Lordship over every area of my life brought healing, life, joy, peace, and abundant spiritual blessings over the past ten years. That decision invited the victory and glory and power of God into my life.

He always listens to a sinner who wants to forsake sin and yield his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Praise God! If we humbly pray to ask God to forgive us for our sins and entreat Him to help us in our weaknesses and temptations from a pure heart, simply longing to love and know Him more, He will answer such a prayer.

Prayers God promises to hear:

  • And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
  • If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
  • Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
  • And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1 John 3:22
  • And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14
  • And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Heb. 11:6

When we are willing to get rid of all spiritual poison in our lives, and we intensely desire to live holy, righteous lives through Christ, God tunes His ears to our prayers. When we put our faith in God and in the salvation He provides to us through Jesus, He hears us. When we decide to trust His Word and depend on His wisdom and His truth rather than our own understanding, He turns His hearts toward us. When we are willing to ask God to help us forgive others, He forgives us.

When we lay down all of ourselves, all of our hopes and dreams, all that we own, and all of our future and entrust ourselves completely to Him, He gives all of Himself to us. When we long to walk and live in obedience to Him (yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit) out of love, awe, and gratitude for His amazing love and unfathomable provision for us through Jesus, He joyfully receives us. And when we genuinely seek His presence, His glory, His pleasure, and His will far above anything and anyone else, He delights in working all things, the good and the bad in our lives, for our ultimate good and His glory.

Of course, the timing and exactly how He answers is entirely up to Him.

If you want God to work powerfully, mightily, and miraculously in your life and family, if you want His divine healing, if You want to see His miracles, it begins with a willingness to turn away from toxic things that lead to spiritual death and to turn fully to Jesus and the new Life He has for you.

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We’d love to hear about how God answered your prayers or times you have felt stuck.

 

Much love!

 

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Top 5 Pitfalls on This Journey

 

 

My Pro-Life and Pro-Love Story (by Nneka Simone)

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

A guest post by Nneka Simone. I appreciate her vulnerability and willingness to share her story on this incredibly important topic. May we all be reminded of the sanctity and value of every human life, no matter how small:

My Story

God designed the beautiful act of sex to unite husbands and wives and to bring forth children. Having been raised in my faith, I knew that sex before marriage was a sin and I was passionately determined to avoid it at all costs. I read loads of books about purity and chastity, distributed chastity material to teenagers in my church, and even gave chastity talks.

However, one night, my boyfriend and I fell down the slippery slope of temptation and I got pregnant that very first time.

As a well-known woman in my church community, I was ashamed of the pregnancy and knew that I looked like a liar and a hypocrite. Some people lost respect for me and stopped speaking to me. More importantly, I felt ashamed before God because I knew that I had grieved his heart. I humbly turned to my loving Saviour and genuinely repented of my sin and willingly received His compassion and forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant, I did everything I could do to protect, love, and care for my child. I never gave abortion a thought. I knew it was a violent act of murder to a helpless, vulnerable, and precious child of God.

A picture of the Nneka Simone’s sweet baby boy!

Motherhood Has Been a Blessing

My son is a wonderful, loving, and delightful child who enjoys every moment of his life. God has blessed me with a loving heart to nurture him and the financial means to provide for him. God also nurtured my relationship with my child’s father and we had a beautiful and simple wedding when our son was 6 months old.

Although motherhood is challenging and demanding in many ways, my son is a wonderful gift from God.  I’m sharing my story in this post as an act of thanksgiving to God for his generous mercy and for the life of my son. I pray that it will be instrumental in helping women to appreciate their fertility and value their children.

Satan’s Evil Agenda for Women

Satan has had an agenda to deceive, manipulate and mislead women from the beginning of time. Satan went after Eve in the garden because he knows the power and influence women have over men, children, families, and society.

Today, women are being encouraged to:

  • See our own babies as burdens and inconveniences, rather than blessings and gifts from God.
  • Seek satisfaction only in our academic and career accomplishments, rather than in raising children and caring for a family.
  • View duties related to marriage and family life as oppressive, rather than loving acts of sacrifice that bring glory to God.
  • See sexual activity as something that is solely for our personal pleasure (apart from marriage or childbearing), rather than a gift from God that fosters emotional bonds in marriage and brings forth children.
  • See our ability to conceive as a burden and a curse, rather than a gift and a blessing.
  • Render ourselves infertile through contraception, rather than appreciating and valuing our ability to nurture life.
  • See abortion as a right that gives women freedom and happiness, rather than an act of violence, cruelty, and murder.
  • See our bodies as our own, rather than as belonging to the Lord.
  • See a child in our womb as our property that we can dispose of if we wish, rather than as a precious child of God created in His image for incredible and eternal purposes.
  • Be proud of our past abortions, rather than acknowledge that abortion is a terrible sin from which we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing.
  • Believe that God only wants to judge and condemn us for our sins rather than forgive us and show us His love.

Now that we are clear on Satan’s anti-life, anti-family, and anti-motherhood agenda, let’s explore God’s perspective on fertility, children, and motherhood.

God Loves and Cherishes Men, Women, and Children

  • God sees fertility as a blessing. In fact, his first command to Adam and Eve was that they multiply:
    • “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Genesis 1:28
  • God sees motherhood as a blessing.
    • “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
  • God compares His love for us to a mother’s love. This shows how highly He values women and motherhood.
    • “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Psalm 49:15
  • God creates each child in the womb.
    • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 14-15
  • God sees children as a heritage, a reward, and a blessing.
    • “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” Psalm 127:3-5 
  • God establishes an important plan for each child before he or she is born. (This includes children conceived in adultery and sexual assault.) God loves each of us and has a plan for us no matter how we were conceived.
    • “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace.” Galatians 1:15
    • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
    • “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 16
  • God is the author of life and wants us to live fully.
    • “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
    • “I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6
  • Children belong to God from the womb.
    • “But you are He who took me out of the womb; you made me trust while on my mother’s breasts.” Psalm 22:9
    • “From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Psalm 22:10
  • God owns our bodies and our children’s bodies. We don’t.
    • “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. 2 Cor 6: 19-20

As we see the pro-death abortion laws gaining ground, it may be tempting to get disheartened and give in to despair about the direction our culture is heading, but there is no need to do so. As Christians, we are people of HOPE and God has given us a clear roadmap to heal our land.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

This verse tells us that Christians are responsible for the direction of their countries. As Christian women, we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will heal our land and conquer this satanic agenda.

Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

Here are some actions we can all employ to foster God-honouring lifestyle in which all children are valued.

Meditate on the Word of God day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

  • Wash your mind daily with the Word of God. (Ephesians 5:26)
  • Read the Bible to your children. (Deuteronomy 11:19)
  • Teach Sunday School at your church if you believe God is calling you to do so.
  • Pray about starting a women’s Bible study in your neighbourhood.
  • Pray the Word of God over yourself and your family.

Recognise that everyone is a precious child of God and treat everyone with love and respect.

  • Since all life is valuable, do good works to help vulnerable members of society: eg. the homeless, illiterate adults, underprivileged children, the elderly, and those with debilitating diseases. (Matt 25:31-46)
  • Tell your children every day that they, and all children in the world, are gifts and blessings from God. (Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 17:6)
  • Treat single mothers and unmarried pregnant woman with kindness, compassion, and respect. Seek to humbly, gently help to restore them to fellowship with the Lord and the Body of Christ or share the gospel that they may come to know the salvation Jesus offers to them and their children. (Gal. 6:1)
  • Express godly kindness and compassion to women who have had abortions and encourage them to pray, repent, and seek forgiveness and salvation/restoration. (James 5:16)

Humbly and fully repent of any sin in your own life and invite God to empower you to live a holy life.

  • If you have had an abortion in the past, acknowledge it as a sin, repent before God and trust that he has forgiven you. Seek godly counselling to help you to heal emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. (1 John 1:9)
  • Ask God to cleanse you of inadvertent sin (Psalm 19:12) and allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow in your heart. We can only point people to Christ and His love of God for children if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
  • When single, make every effort to save sex for marriage. Avoid being alone with your boyfriend so that you would not fall into temptation.
  • Avoid porn and even sexual/romantic books, movies, music, websites that create temptation for you.
  • When married, make every effort to protect your sexual purity. Avoid being alone with other men. Avoid private conversations and emotional/spiritual intimacy with other men.

Value and cherish motherhood and children.

  • Understand that motherhood is far more sacred and special than your education or your career. Submit all areas of your life to the Lordship of Christ including motherhood, your education, your career, and your ministry. Invite God to use them all for His glory!
  • If you do become pregnant out-of-wedlock, protect the precious life in your womb no matter how your family and your church community react. You are not alone. God has created many pro-life organizations that help women in your situation.
  • When married, prayerfully consider choosing Natural Family Planning methods (eg. Daysy, Lady-Comp, the Billings Ovulation Method) rather than contraception. Be open to life and believe that God will help you to provide for your children. Don’t let fear keep you from having another child. (Gen 1:28)
  • If you are a victim of sexual assault, understand that the child is still precious and loved by God. An abortion would not erase the trauma of the assault. Either commit to raising that child or give it up for adoption to a loving couple. Adoption is a beautiful option.

Prayerfully get involved.

  • Educate yourself on pro-life issues and get involved in the pro-life movement in your community. (Matthew 5:10).
  • Focus on becoming biblically-correct, not politically-correct, and full of God’s love for others regardless of what persecution you may face. (Matthew 5:10)
  • Pray about becoming a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or youth mentor so you can be instrumental in protecting children in vulnerable situations.

With God’s wisdom, love, and power, we can be like the Proverbs 31:25 woman who laughs at the days to come and daughters of Sarah who do what is right and do not give in to fear (1 Peter 3:6).

Books Recommended by Simone about a Christian missionary who adoped 14 children:

RESOURCES

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.gotquestions.org

Biblical articles about abortion and the sanctity of human life from www.desiringgod.org

Biblical articles about abortion  and the sanctity of human life from www.answersingenisis.org

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus Christ

 

Prayer for Us to Stand in the Authority of Christ – by Radiant

A guest post by Radiant.
From the Peaceful Wife
These petitions are primarily based on Scripture and the promises of God to those who follow Jesus. The prayers themselves are not magical. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are powerful! When we pray the promises and truth of God back to Him in faith, we are praying according to His will and we open the floodgates of heaven. This is how He allows us to take part in birthing His will into our lives, our families, and this world.
From Radiant
If you see a few verses or thoughts that stand out to you, you could print just those on a card to remind yourself to pray throughout the day and this week.

Praying in the Authority of Jesus Christ

You Are Our Encouragement

  • Thank you, Jesus, that You are the lifter of our heads.
  • Thank You that You have plans to give us a hope and a future for us our families.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out an anointing of wisdom and love over our families in this new season.
You Are Our Healer and Comforter
For our families and ourselves, we confess, repent of, bind and send to the Cross all division, strife, hurt, self-effort, pride, offense, fear of man, fear of failure, critical spirits, judging, wounds, slavery, torment, perfectionism, religion, negativity, complaining, unbelief, hindrance, futile ways handed down by our fathers, forms of godliness without Your power, worldly wisdom and control.
  • Thank You that You are teaching us to live by faith, and not put ourselves under the law and a curse.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your healing, love and Spirit on each wound that each of us has spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
  • Thank You that You are binding us together in love by Your Spirit.

You Are for Us

  • Thank You that You have called each person in our families by name and they are Yours.
  • Thank You that He who started a good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it.
  • Thank You that You alone are Intercessor, the Author and perfecter of each of our faith. We give our own hearts and each family member’s hearts, destiny, past and future to You.
  • Thank You that Your design for marriage is to reflect Christ and the Bride. We declare that anointing over our kids, their future spouses and our marriages.
  • Thank You that if You are for us, who can be against us? There is no condemnation now for those of us who are in Christ Jesus!
You Are Our Freedom
  • Thank You that Your definition of freedom is freedom from sin and the freedom to walk in holiness and obedience to You!
  • Thank You that it is for freedom You set us and our families free. And if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed.
  • Thank You that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

You Are Changing Us

  • Thank You that You are changing the desires and delights of our hearts so that we delight in You, our Bridegroom.
  • Thank You that we have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer the old us who live, but the new us. We are now one with Christ, full of the Spirit, covered by His blood and made totally new with Your resurrection power!
You Are Our Rest
  • Thank You that You are making crooked things straight, strengthening the things that are lame.
  • Thank You that a bruised reed You will not break, and a smoldering wick You will not put out. You bear with us in our weakness.
  • Thank You that all of us who are heavy laden and weary are coming to You and You gladly give us Your supernatural rest.
  • Thank You that we cast our cares on You because You care for us. We remove all yokes that are not of You from us and our families in Jesus’ Name – and we take on Your light yoke, Your joy and Your presence for each of us.
You Are Our Peace
  • Thank You that You are our peace. You have made us and our families one, and have broken down the dividing wall of separation.
  • Thank You that You will reign as the Prince of Peace in our hearts and our families’ hearts today.
  • Thank You that no scheme of hell or man can ever separate us from Your love or pluck us from Your hand.
  • Thank You that You are giving us wisdom from heaven which is first of all peaceable.
  • Thank You that You, Yourself, promise to be our Teacher and the Teacher of our kids, and great will be our peace.
  • Thank You that we are each setting our minds on the things of the Spirit – which is life and peace – instead of our old way of setting our minds on worldly things that lead to death.
You Are Calling Us
  • Thank You that the Spirit of the Lord is on You (and now on us), because the Lord has anointed You (and Your Bride –  even me) to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open prison doors to those who are bound, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
  • Thank You that even though the enemy has been stealing, killing and destroying many things in our lives, You came that we might have life and have it abundantly. You restore the ruins, You give restitution for what the locusts have eaten.
  • Thank You that those who look to You lack no good thing in light of eternity. Our faces are radiant.
You Are God with Us
  • Thank You that You are flooding our hearts with You, to treasure You and be full of love and grace.
  • Thank You that we will not bite and devour each other, but bless each other.
  • Thank You that You are helping us live lives that will be good places for Your Spirit to dwell and bring good fruit and fruit of the Spirit rather than barrenness or thorns.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your Spirit on all flesh — on us and our descendants.
  • Thank You that Your Word and Your Spirit teach us all things.
  • Thank You that You are giving us a beautiful crown instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.
  • Thank You that we will all be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
  • Thank You that You are working the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman into me and my daughter as Your Bride.
You Are Our Victorious Warrior in Spiritual Battle
  • Thank You Jesus that what the enemy means for evil, You use for good.
  • Thank You that we will build up ancient ruins, raise up former devastations, repair ruined cities and the devastations of many generations.
  • Thank You that You have given us every spiritual blessing, supply, weapon and tool we need in Christ for this spiritual battle we are in. And Your Name is Victory!!
  • You already defeated the enemy. Now we declare Your victory over us and our families and homes.
We praise You Jesus for what You are doing and all that has shifted in the spiritual realm as we declare Your promises over us.
We give it all to You and ask for Your help for us to yield, be pliable and surrender our wills to Yours.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus and according to His perfect will,
Amen!

Wisdom for Wives Who Are Moms of Kids with Special Needs – by Cheryl

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

A guest post by one of my readers, Cheryl. I’m so thankful she is willing to share some of the things she has learned on the tough road she and her husband and family have shared. Honestly, they are pearls of wisdom for all of us!

As we sat in our car in the medical parking lot, somewhat numb and in shock, we wondered what God was doing. We had just been told our 7 month-old son had Lissencephaly. We had no idea what to expect. Married just under 3 years, we had already experienced the birth of our first-born son, the still-born birth of his twin brother, and numerous hospital stays – all before our first anniversary.

Now what was God doing? Didn’t He know we couldn’t do this?

What about our hopes, our dreams? What now? So many questions and no answers, except to trust the One who knew them.  We had vowed we would stay together and persevere, no matter what life brought our way. It is this commitment and a gracious, merciful and faithful God that has carried us through.

Fast forward five years and our family now consisted of four boys; our youngest, also diagnosed with Lissencephaly. Our lives revolved around therapies, IEP’s, school and government paperwork, doctor’s appointments and seizure management – along with work, school and church activities. We did our best to keep up, to be the best parents we could be to all our sons. And, life went on.

Our marriage often took a back seat.

Although we did attend a few marriage conferences and took a few weekend getaways and short vacations, bitterness, anger and isolation was creeping in, unseen, ignored and left to grow. What I started realizing around 23 years of marriage, was that I had baggage that needed to be addressed. I had bitterness. I had attitudes that needed adjusting and a heart that needed to be changed.  A lot of pain and subsequent consequences could’ve been avoided had I chosen to heed the early warning signs.

With this in mind, may I share with you some of the lessons God has been teaching me the past couple of years while in His loving refining room?

  • Abiding in Christ: Growth, peace and contentment in my personal life and marriage begins and ends with abiding in Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This means staying close to my Shepherd, getting to know Him, loving Him, trusting Him, obeying Him.
  • Obedience: I am learning that my obedience and yielding to Christ, or lack there-of, affects not only my ability to know Him, to hear His voice, to see His work in my life and to be used by Him, but also affects my relationships, my marriage, my attitudes, my peace of mind and my heart. In the midst of all the demands and responsibilities that come along with being a mom of boys with special needs, I oftentimes put obeying God on the back burner. I neglected my time with Him. I didn’t guard my heart, my words, my thoughts, or my actions – especially in my marriage. I took my marriage and husband for granted, failing to realize the gradual erosion taking place.
  • Address Issues Early: Looking back, I wish my husband and I would’ve worked through our baggage, couple issues, and differences in the early years of our marriage. Although, it would’ve been difficult finding childcare (as is often the case due to high medical needs and challenges), and expensive to see a counselor, we probably would’ve avoided pain and pitfalls down the road.
  • Thankfulness: God is teaching me that a thankful heart and attitude keeps bitterness and a sour attitude from nesting in my heart. If I keep fixated on what my boys can’t do, what they are missing out on, and what my husband and I are missing out on, then, not only do I grow bitter, but, I can become depressed and lose hope. Finding reasons to thank God each day helps me keep an eternal perspective, see God’s blessings in our lives and helps keep me abiding in Him.
  • Mentors:This can be a lonely and isolating life. I’ve learned that the Christian life isn’t meant to be either. We need Christian mentors in our lives;  older, wiser women as well as older, more experienced couples. It’s hard to reach out and invest the time and energy necessary for close friendships amid all the on-going responsibilities that come with the special needs territory, but it is well worth it! Years ago, God brought an older, wiser woman of God into my life who has walked with me through many seasons, mountaintops and valleys, joys and sorrows. She offers encouragement, a listening ear, wisdom, truth and perspective.  My husband and I are also in a couple’s small group Bible study. Getting there isn’t always easy or convenient and requires sacrifice on our part; but, we receive  encouragement and accountability in our marriage, and the opportunity to encourage and minister to other couples.
  • Reaching Out in Ministry: God is helping me to reach out and use my gifts to help others. This is a toughie as we SN (special needs) moms just don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to long-term, even short-term ministry. For many years, I was involved in music ministry. It worked well as it was flexible and allowed me the opportunities to use my gifts and talents for the kingdom.  God has changed my direction somewhat the past few years, stretching me in undeveloped areas and giving me many smaller opportunities to serve others. I’m learning to look for these opportunities daily and though they are often small acts, others are encouraged and blessed, and so am I.
  • God’s Word/Hope: God’s Word, His truths and promises, sustain me and help keep my eyes on Him. Meditating on and memorizing Scripture is not an easy discipline for me, but the verses I’ve learned are  readily available when I need them the most. Lately, these two verses on hope have really encouraged me.

“[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil.”  Hebrews 6:19 AMPC

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”  Romans 15:13 TPT

 

Lord,

We praise You as Creator. You formed us and knit us together just the way You wanted. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! Forgive us for our impatience, selfishness and reluctance to trust You. We pray for strength and stamina through sleepless nights and long days. Give us friends who can encourage us and give us relief when our nerves are frayed. And, give us hope when everything seems dark. We look forward to the great reward of someday seeing our special children, specially perfect!

Amen.

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What struggles and trials have you gone through in your marriage, family, career, or life that has brought about a harvest of godly wisdom you feel led to share with us?

Or do you simply need some encouragement and prayer today to help you in the midst of your current trial? Let us know so we can pray with you.

Also, if you have a testimony you’d like to share for a post on any topic, I’d love to read it. I’m looking for women’s stories about things God has taught them and how God has changed and healed them through Christ. I prefer articles about 1000-1500 words in length. You may send them to me on my contact page. I’d love to have some guest posts to share especially for the month of April.

 

Much love!

 

 

 

 

 

11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Thanksgiving and Praise to God

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 69:30

The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.

11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:

  1. God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
  2. God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
    • God created people to praise and worship Him. (Isa. 43:21, Eph. 5:19, Heb. 13:15)
    • I am most joyous, fulfilled, and satisfied when I choose to live out my divine calling and purpose from God.
  3. It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise. 
    • An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
    • God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
  4. My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
    • I agree with God about His goodness and His wisdom when I praise and thank Him. (Col. 3:17)
    • This attitude paves the way for me to walk in joyful obedience to the Lord.
    • My praise and thanksgiving allow God to shift my desires to match His own and to soften my heart to His will.
  5. My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
    • It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
    • When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
    • I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
    • I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
    • Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
  6. God inhabits the praises of His people. 
    • My praise attracts God, makes Him feel welcome, and draws me closer to Him and Him closer to me. (Ps. 22:3, 1 Pet. 2:9)
  7. My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
    • As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
    • When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
  8. Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer. 
    • God hates my grumbling/complaining/arguing because it is a clear sign of unbelief and lack of faith.  (Num. 14:27)
    • God responds graciously to my gratitude, trust, and faith. (Phil. 4:6)
  9. Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on. 
    • My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
    • Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
    • May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
    • When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
  10. Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
    • When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
    • It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
  11. My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:

NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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RELATED

Bible Study Tools definition of Praise

Why Is Praising God Important? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Praise God? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Thankfulness/Gratitude? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Which Comes First – Feelings or Obedience?

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

We sometimes have a tendency to want to let our feelings lead the way in our obedience to the Lord.

– I’ll forgive when my feelings change.
– I’ll pray when I feel close to God.
– I’ll be kind, loving, and respectful when I start to really feel it.

But that is not how love for God, spiritual growth, or abiding in Christ work.

Our feelings do not always lead us in what is best for us.

But when God gives us directions, He has our ultimate good in mind. We can trust Him.

Jesus is now our Lord, if we are in Christ. Not our feelings. When He calls us to do anything, we say, “Yes, Lord!” This is SO freeing! We don’t have to be slaves to our emotions any longer! PRAISE GOD!

Feelings are important. They are kind of like an indicator light on a car dashboard. We can pour them out before the Lord like David did in the Psalms. They can be a flag we need to deal with something. But they are no longer the most important thing. They do not dictate our behavior. And they are not our source of absolute truth. God’s Word is our source of absolute truth.

In reality, our obedience to God must lead the way and feelings tend to follow along later.

Jesus equates our love for Him with our obedience to Him. Love is a choice – not a feeling. And real love involves action.

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

We obey God, because He is Lord and He is worthy. We don’t obey to earn salvation. Jesus earned our salvation on the cross and did all the work to make us right with the Lord. We receive His work on our behalf as a gift. We obey because we love Him and are so thankful for His incredible love and sacrifice for us.

As we take that step into obedience in faith, He provides us the very power we need to obey and He produces the fruit of His Spirit – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us. It is all about us allowing Him to do the work in us and through us as we trust and follow Him, seeking His will far above our own.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov. 3:5-6

QUOTE BY CORRIE TEN BOOM

She was a believer in Christ whose family hid Jews in their home from Nazis in World War 2. She later was imprisoned, herself.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.”

NOTE

If you are in an abusive relationship, please note that forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. We are not commanded to trust untrustworthy people. We may need to reach out for help in situations like this.

 

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Do You Struggle with Vanity? Take the Quiz!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Vanity is an issue we all must address as followers of Christ, especially in our culture today. But before we can really assess properly whether we have an issue with vanity, we need to have a good definition of what vanity is. Here is the biblical definition according to www.biblestudytools.com:

Vanity is defined as excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. The biblical usage describes vanity as having no ultimate meaning… Vanity is recognizing only the accomplishments or appearance of oneself without the humility to appreciate the merit of others, including God. If faith is allowed to focus on God, rather, true meaning and joy are to be found. Learn more from our list of Bible verses about vanity!

The world constantly bombards us, as women, with messages about our external appearance being of greatest importance – so that is going to be my primary focus in this post. We see commercials for cosmetics, hair dye, clothing, jewelry, toiletries, surgical procedures, gym memberships, exercise equipment, shape wear, and lingerie that all communicate the message that our physical attractiveness is a measure of our worth as women.

It can get a bit confusing, because we obviously do have to wear clothes, fix our hair, and try to look like respectable members of society. We don’t want to be sloppy, or careless with our appearance for work. We want to look lovely for our husbands. We want to be clean, well-groomed, and properly dressed. We need to take good care of our bodies and our health. But the problem is that we can take things too far – to the point that we are actually sinning and may not even realize it.

Clothes, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles aren’t the real issue. The issue God is most concerned with is our hearts and our attitudes. He wants to help us examine our priorities and set us free from any toxic thinking that would be harmful to us.

How can we tell if we struggle with vanity?

VANITY QUIZ:

  1. Do I feel I must wear the most fashionable clothing or I am somehow “less than”?
  2. Do I feel ashamed, afraid, “naked,” or insecure to leave the house without makeup/nails done?
  3. Do I hate myself if I am not a specific dress size?
  4. Do I depend on people’s compliments and approval of my looks for a sense of wellbeing?
  5. Do I tend to spend inordinate amounts of time on grooming and getting ready in the morning?
  6. Do I choose clothing that will cause people (other than my husband) to pay attention to my figure and to notice my curves and beauty?
  7. Am I willing to sacrifice significant amounts of time/money/energy to have a specific figure, face, hair, or beauty – even if my husband thinks it is unnecessary?
  8. Do I feel pressured by my husband to look a certain way and do I fear that if I am not beautiful enough, he might leave?
  9. Do I compare myself a lot to how other women look and rate myself and them against some subconscious “perfect worldly standard”?
  10. Do I feel better about myself if I think I am the most beautiful woman at a gathering?
  11. Do I feel jealous and resentful if I think another woman in the room is more beautiful than I am?
  12. Do I try to get the attention of men by my appearance, my figure, or flirting, in order to be sure “I still have ”it'”?
  13. Am I willing to do anything to try to keep my husband’s attention and attraction? Even if it involves a lot of money, dishonesty, addictions, or sin?
  14. Do I have a food/exercise addiction (or anorexia/bulimia)?
  15. Is it impossible for me to feel confident in myself, my identity, and my femininity if I don’t look a certain way?
  16. Do I think I am unloveable or worthless if I don’t meet some specific measure of physical beauty?
  17. Do I overspend and break our family’s budget in order to look as good as possible, even if it means the family suffers or my husband is disappointed in our financial situation?
  18. Do I become irrationally jealous if I think my husband notices that there are women in the world who could be more beautiful than I am?

If we can answer yes to any of these questions above, we probably have an issue with vanity.  Vanity or beauty can become our idols. This means that we try to find our worth, value, content, identity, purpose, and security in our looks, our appearance, and in externals rather than in Jesus. The problem is, these things are empty and fleeting. They are not eternal sources of worth. They are deceptive.

What is the difference between vanity and simply being a good steward of our bodies?

It’s not a sin to doll ourselves up for our husbands sometimes. It’s not wrong to dress nicely, although Scripture encourages us not to dress too extravagantly. It’s not wrong to brush our hair and make it look pretty. The real question is our motive. What is on the throne of our hearts? Is it Jesus alone, or is some other desire competing with being the most important thing to us?

Is my greatest goal to bring glory to myself or glory to the Lord?

What is the opposite of vanity?

The opposite of vanity is modesty. My favorite definition of modesty is:

Modesty is humility in clothing.

What does the Bible say about modesty?

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4
  • For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

The goal of modesty is to exalt the Lord in every area of my life.

If I choose to live modestly:

  1. I choose to take the spotlight off of myself – my face, my hair, my body, my clothes, and my jewelry.
  2. I no longer depend on expensive, extravagant attempts at outward beauty to feel like a beautiful woman. I don’t want anything to distract people from Christ.
  3. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to my brothers in Christ – or to my sisters – by the way I dress and present myself.
  4. I seek to look respectable and feminine in a way that causes people to focus on the Spirit of God radiating from my life.
  5. I don’t seek to be the most beautiful woman in the room or on the planet.
  6. I treat my body with respect and honor because I reverence my Lord, Jesus Christ and I want to honor and glorify Him more than anything.
  7. My goal is to be a godly steward of my body rather than flaunting my body or finding security in my looks.
  8. I want to point the attention toward Him and away from me.
  9. I find my worth, identity, purpose, value, and security in His love for me and what He did for me on the cross.
  10. I can be secure in my identity and value as a woman even if I don’t have on makeup, I am not in fancy clothes, and even if my hair is not fixed in a glamorous way.
  11. I am free from the snare of people pleasing.
  12. I don’t try to grab everyone’s attention for myself.
  13. I focus on Jesus and on sharing His love and truth with others and I want to see others find the abundant life of Christ.
  14. I don’t compare myself to other women.
  15. I seek to be beautiful in God’s eyes in my inner self more than seeking outer beauty.
  16. I seek to honor my husband if there are certain things he appreciates me doing – like having a certain hair length (if possible), or dressing up sometimes, or taking good care of my body with healthy diet/exercise. But this is simply just to be a blessing to him, it is not because I look to his approval for my worth and identity.
  17. I know who I am in Christ and I cling to what He says about me.
  18. My eyes are fixed on the eternal rather than the temporary.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

As I live in modesty and yield my heart completely to the Lordship of Christ, I find my security, identity, purpose, and lovability in Jesus alone.

NOTE – Exactly how we choose to dress, how we do our hair, and whether we decide to wear makeup or not are issues that I believe fall under “personal convictions.” Those things are personal between each believer and the Lord. Romans 14 admonishes believers to keep matters of personal conviction private so that we do not create stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. My concern is our hearts and that we would seek to honor the Lord above all else just because we love Him and want to please Him more than anything.

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Has God given you a breakthrough in this area concerning motives that you would like to share? Or are you struggling and need more resources or prayer support? Please leave us a comment. <3

 

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He Would Like to Have Input, Too

Photo by Christelle BOURGEOIS on Unsplash

 

The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Prov. 14:1

Let’s imagine a fictional scenario together for a moment:

Maybe my kids and I have had a lot of head congestion in recent months. Lots of runny noses. Difficulty sleeping, coughing, etc… And maybe I decide that we must be allergic to dust. So I decide I want the wall-to-wall carpet completely torn out of the house and I want everything replaced with hardwoods. I truly believe that this is a critical health issue. Yes, it will cost a lot, and yes, my husband is working on a different expensive project right now, but it seems like it should be top priority to me. After all, it is our health, we are talking about. What could be more important than that?

I have been researching a lot. One night, as soon as my husband comes home from work, I say, “Honey, I think the kids and I are allergic to dust. That must be the reason why we are all sick so much. But I know exactly what will help! We just need to get rid of all of the carpet in the house by next week. Wall-to-wall carpet is the worst for people with dust allergies. I have picked out some hardwood floors for us, and I already got a quote from Lowe’s. Obviously, we will want to get the fossilized bamboo 5.5 inch solid hardwood for the downstairs. And Yukon gold hickory solid hardwoods for the upstairs. It will be $6,000 installed. They can come next Thursday. We’ll have to move the furniture ourselves into storage for a few days. That will be $300 plus the cost of a U-Haul. Or we could do a storage container in the driveway, whichever you prefer. And we’ll have to stay in a hotel for 3-4 nights. But I found a great hotel that would only be about $150 per night. You’re good with all that, right?”

Then, if my husband hesitates, wants to ask some questions, wants to put down his briefcase, wants to eat supper first, has other solutions, or other priorities, I get upset. “What? You obviously don’t care about our health or love your family at all if you aren’t on board with my plan right now!”

This was basically my approach earlier in our marriage. (It’s exaggerated slightly here, but not much!)

Yikes.

It is very tempting to look at a problem, do all of the research and thinking through things myself, and then suddenly present the entire issue and my solution all at once to my husband. I may think I am really helping him out so he doesn’t have to do any thinking or any research.

That actually doesn’t feel like “help” to him, turns out!

In fact, a husband may feel a bit “ambushed” by this approach.

Here are a few things I know now that husbands tend to appreciate:

  • He may like to have some time to think through an important issue himself, too. I may have been thinking about it all day, but he hasn’t.
  • He may have other ways of looking at things that shed a lot of light on the issue.
  • He may have wisdom to share that I need to hear.
  • He wants to have a voice, too.
  • He wants to have a chance to research things and share his concerns and ideas.
  • He wants to feel like we are a team.
  • He doesn’t want to be painted into a corner where he has to agree with my solution or he is the bad guy.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t care about your family.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t love us.
    • If you ask questions, you aren’t concerned about our health.
  • He may desire a chance to humbly, lovingly lead.

These days, instead of springing a crisis and solution on my husband all at once, I am much more likely to approach him (after supper) like this:

  • I’ve been thinking about X problem. I’m concerned it may be affecting our health. What are your thoughts?
  • Then, for my particular husband, I give him time to think about things. He may need days or weeks to mull over something. And, in a situation like this, that is okay. It is not an emergency. (Now, if the toilet is overflowing, that is an emergency. It needs to be dealt with right away. Thankfully, though, many things are not emergencies.)
  • I’ve been considering Y for a solution. What do you think about that?
  • Here is what concerns me…
  • What approach do you think would be best?

My husband may bring some new ideas to the table:

  • I think I want to try changing the air filters to start with. Let’s see if that helps.
  • What things lead you to believe it is allergies, not frequent colds and viruses making everyone sick?
  • Have you tried any allergy medicine for any of you? Does that help at all?
  • If the allergy medicine helps, maybe we can get some allergy testing done to see what the allergies actually are.
  • I noticed some black looking mold on the ceiling in the kids’ bathroom. I’m going to clean it and paint over it with Kilz.

Most husbands would like to try the least expensive, easiest remedies first. If a $10 treatment works, why spend $6000?

A husband is not being unloving by responding this way. A husband who wants some time to process things, ask questions, and do some research does care about his family and their health. He is trying to lead in a godly way and be a good steward of the limited financial resources the family has. He doesn’t want to jump to a wrong conclusion. He wants to be sure the root issue is really being addressed.

There are a lot of things that could potentially be going on here. It’s wise to slow down and examine things thoroughly. Yes, we may need hard floors, but let’s be sure that is truly what will help before we make a hasty decision.

Of course, it is totally fine for me to also have respectful questions, requests, input, and suggestions. That is part of how we make decisions together as a team. If we can’t come to an agreement in the end (and he is not asking me to clearly sin), then I can choose to honor my husband’s leadership and pray and invite God to work in the situation and give him wisdom.

Husbands tend to appreciate having some time and space to think, make suggestions, ask questions, propose possible solutions, and look at things from a variety of angles. They tend to like to be involved in the problem-solving – especially if they feel respected and valued.

What a blessing to be able to respectfully share my concerns with my husband but also to let him be part of figuring out the solution. God put us together because we can help to balance each other out with our different perspectives and approaches.

It’s also important to remember that so many times, the issue and eventual decision aren’t nearly as important in God’s eyes as how we treat each other along the way is.

Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33

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We’d love to hear about ways God has shown you how to approach your husband respectfully about important decisions.

Husbands, any suggestions?

<3

(Note – If you need one-on-one counseling for a difficult situation, please check out Focus on the Family’s counseling service or Biblical Counseling. Thanks!)

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The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – there are several chapters on disrespect, respect, and how to honor our husband’s leadership in ways that honor the Lord.