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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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How has God revealed these truths to you in your own walk with Him?

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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How has God been working in your heart on this issue? <3

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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

 

My Commenting Policy

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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!)

My Commenting Policy

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RELATED BOOK

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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How Can I Have Peace When the World Has Gone Mad?

Photo Credit Osman Rana on Unsplash

How can I find real peace in this crazy, violent, messed-up world today? Especially when the people I love most are living here in the midst of it and it is scary and dangerous?

We have spoken often about the foundation for our peace being in Jesus and in our personal relationship with Him as our Savior and Lord.

The Foundation of My Peace Is Jesus

The foundation of my peace as a woman, wife, and mom is that I know, love, and trust Jesus.

  1. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is on the throne of my life without any rival affections. I have peace because He is the source of all peace. (John 14:27, John 16:33)
  2. I have peace as I live in total submission to His Lordship in my life. He is in charge, I am not. When I try to be in charge myself or I trust anything/anyone other than Christ, I will live in fear, anxiety, discouragement, oppression, and spiritual poverty.
  3. I also have peace as I abide in Christ (John 15:4-7). I live in continual total dependence on Him, His Word, His Spirit, prayer, and emotional/spiritual oneness with Him. I receive all of His truth. I allow His power to transform me daily.
  4. When His Spirit is reigning in my life, I experience the “fruit of His Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

God’s Word, His Spirit, and Sound Doctrine Expand His Peace in My Heart and Life

The Bible is my lifeline to God. It is His love letter to me and to all who belong to Him. It is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). I need it all!

  • I need the scriptures that explain who God is and tell me of His character so I can know and trust Him and have a right view of Him.
  • I need the parts about the history of God’s people to have a concept of what God has done in the past and how He works in the lives of His people and in the world.
  • I need the passages about doctrine for a framework upon which to build my life.
  • I need the story of Jesus’ life and what He did for all of us on the cross and to know the Gospel.
  • I need to know how to have a relationship with Him that show me all that God has done to save me from hell.
  • I need the parts of the Bible that tell me how to live the Christian life in practical ways.
  • I also need the prophetic parts to thoroughly equip and prepare me for the present and the future.

…You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 1 Tim. 3:15-17

All of God’s Word is infallible and true. All of it is there to bless the body of Christ as a whole and as individuals, to transform us to make us more like Jesus.

Bible prophecy is often overlooked by many believers in Christ, today. Lots of people think it isn’t relevant to our lives, that God’s prophetic words are not true, or that those scriptures can’t be rightly understood. Of course, there are those who twist God’s Word to try to use it for their own misleading purposes. They are false teachers, and they are in abundance, even among churches who claim Jesus as Lord. We must be alert and careful about what teachers we listen to. But this subject is too important to ignore or dismiss.

If I do not know Bible prophecy about “the end times,” when I look at what is going on in this world, it seems completely terrifying and I will act in fear rather than faith.

When I act in fear, I make destructive choices as a wife, mom, and in my other relationships.

It is so critical for me to understand that God is in control, even now, and that God is moving the world toward a specific plan for His glory. People have free will. He gives people the ability to choose or reject Him every moment of our lives. He is not responsible for people’s sin. He is outside of time and space. And His sovereignty encompasses our free will and works with it to create a tapestry throughout all of human history for His glory. I won’t begin to understand how that is possible until heaven. But as I receive His Life-giving Word and trust God, I can live in His peace and have hope because I know what the outcome is ultimately going to be, even when I watch the news.

This impacts all of my relationships and life-decisions greatly!

When I Properly Understand Bible Prophecy, I Am a Different Woman, Wife, and Mom

If I truly know that Jesus is coming again for His church (including me), and I believe that the Great Tribulation is just around the corner and that time to share the Gospel and to love people is precious and limited, this knowledge transforms my life:

  1. I think, speak, pray, and act in faith in God rather than being overcome by fear.
  2. I embrace God’s spiritual pruning of my life to help me grow in my faith. Even if my husband isn’t changing first.
  3. I don’t want to waste any time in becoming the godly woman God calls me to be. I desperately desire God’s Spirit’s power to enable me to build up and bless my family and I want to stop tearing them down and using my influence and power to destroy them and others.
  4. I am familiar with the enemy’s schemes to distract, discourage, and paralyze me and to seduce me away from Jesus with lies. I know that he would love to get a foothold in my life so he could use my mouth and my actions to destroy my husband and children. He will do anything he can to get me to fall away from my faith in Jesus and to rebel against the Lord and destroy my witness for Christ. So I cling to Jesus all the more.
  5. I want to be found faithful and obedient to my Lord Jesus when He comes “in the twinkling of an eye(1 Cor. 15:51) which is the rapture – or when I meet him through death – whichever may come first.
  6. I share hope, wisdom, and faith with my husband, children, and everyone in my circle of influence.
  7. I know that my devotion, worship, obedience, trust, and labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
  8. I realize that time may be very short, so I want to be sure I am right with God and right with other people. I don’t have time to hold onto any sin, resentment, grudges, or unforgiveness.
  9. I have a lot more patience with people because I know what is truly important and I am seeing from an eternal perspective, not a temporal one.
  10. I want to share the gospel urgently, to be sure that everyone has a chance to choose to live for Jesus while there is still a small window of time left in this period of grace before the Great Tribulation begins when things will become much more difficult for those who decide to follow Jesus.
  11. My priorities shift dramatically. With this eternal perspective, I won’t care nearly as much about the small things – my husband forgot our anniversary, he left the toilet seat up again, my children didn’t appreciate me enough, we haven’t been on a date in months, etc… My eyes are set on Jesus and His kingdom’s work.
  12. I am not very phased by people’s pettiness or drama. Externals become less and less important. So do all of the things that seem so important to the world. I see way past those shallow things because much deeper spiritual things of God concern me.
  13. I am not caught up in gossip, materialism, idolatry, bitterness, pride, a critical spirit, self-righteousness, or greed.
  14. I don’t cling to the things of this world because they will soon disappear.
  15. I don’t have a spirit of offense when others are hurtful toward me, I don’t take what they do to me personally. I see they are wounded and hurting. I am able to see their spiritual condition and oppression and I pray for God to reach them, to heal them, to bless them, and to raise them to the new life (1 Cor. 4:12-13) God has given to me.
  16. I see God at work in the headlines. I see His prophecies unfolding before my eyes and I am assured that He has not abandoned His people, my family, or me as an individual. My faith increases as I see His Word is true and His prophecies are being fulfilled one by one.
  17. I am humbled before God, acknowledging that He is sovereign, not me. He is God, I am not. He has all wisdom, I do not. He holds the world and all of the nations in His hands, I don’t. He knows what He is doing. Even the Great Tribulation has a purpose – to draw Israel, finally, to her amazing Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Want Some Details?

In case this is all rather new to you, or you just need a quick summary of what has been going on, check out the following list and see how many of these points have happened or are happening now:

25 Signs We Are Near the Last Days – by Don Stewart (There are numerous sub-points, you may watch this video for a brief overview, or check out his book.) The bold words are Don Stewart’s words. The regular font words are my additional comments.

  1. The miracle of Israel’s survival.
  2. As their enemies have done to Israel, so God will do to them. He promised to weaken Egypt but to keep it around (Jer. 46) as a reminder to Israel. But He said they would never be a great power again. There are no longer any Moabites (Jer. 48), Philistines (Jer. 47), Babylonians (Jer. 50), and others today, just as God prophesied when He decreed destruction for those enemies of Israel.
  3. Israel will miraculously return to its ancient homeland in the last days. Israel became an official nation again, after being dissolved for almost 2000 years, on May 14, 1948. They celebrated their 70th anniversary of being a modern nation this spring.
  4. The nation will return in two stages. They will return to their homeland in unbelief in Jesus. They are spiritually dead (Ezekiel 37). This is what has happened, Israel has returned, but they still do not acknowledge Jesus. The second stage will occur at the end of the Great Tribulation (after Jesus defeats the Anti-Christ) when they acknowledge that Jesus is their Messiah and they repent and turn to Him in faith.
  5. Jerusalem will be united under Israeli rule. This happened after the 6 day war in 1967.
  6. Israel will be in the world’s spotlight. Just watch the news in almost any given week this year.
  7. There will be a continual search for peace in Israel. There are talks of an attempt to organize some kind of peace deal in Israel and the Middle East in the news this week.
  8. Preparations will be made to build the third temple. This has been underway for several yearsMany Jews believe that Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital means that rebuilding the temple is next. The “Temple Movement” is growing and ready as soon as the opportunity presents itself for the Jews to begin construction.
  9. In the last days, certain specified nations will invade Israel (Ezekiel 38-39). The Bible names the countries that are modern day Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and Ethiopia as those who will come against Israel “like a cloud” during a time of prosperity and peace in Israel. Currently, Iran, Russia, and Turkey are working together in an alliance staging some of their military operations in Syria. Iran has been very clear that they plan to wipe Israel off the mapTurkey is hostile toward Israel. Russia is occupying Syria and supporting Syria, Turkey, and Iran.
  10. The nations missing from the Ezekiel 38,39 invasion. Equally interesting is that Saudia Arabia and some other nations are currently a bit more friendly, or, not as hostile, toward Israel, as they used to be. These nations are not listed as attackers in Ezekiel 38,39.
  11. No superpower will intervene on Israel’s behalf when they are invaded: something will happen to the United States. America will either not have the power or the will to help Israel – but this is God’s plan. God, Himself, will save Israel during the Ezekiel 38 war in a miraculous way.
  12. There will be a ten nation confederation in western Europe (The revival of the ancient Roman Empire). Possibly the EU in some form?
  13. There will be a one-world political and economic system (globalism). Although we have not yet achieved a one-world political and economic system, it is obvious in the news that globalism is the primary goal of many political leaders today.
  14. The world will desperately look for a leader. It turns out that the dynamic, charismatic man who will seem to have all of the answers to the natural disasters, famines, plagues, economic crisis, etc… and who seduces the entire world will be the Antichrist.
  15. There will be an exponential increase in technology. This continues to happen at an astounding rate, never seen before in history.
  16. Plagues and pestilence will trouble the world. Contagious diseases and pandemics can travel more quickly around the world today than ever. Here is why the risk continues to increase from a scientific perspective and why the end times will be so ripe for the greatest plagues and death tolls (due to disease) in history. During the Great Tribulation, 1/4 of the earth’s population will be killed by sword, famine, disease, or wild animals.
  17. The world will be characterized by lawlessness. Watch the local, national, or world news any time to see this.
  18. The world will be characterized by violence. Again, we can see it every day in the news. The level of blatant hatred and violence in our culture has been rising at truly alarming rates.
  19. The organized church will turn away from the faith (apostasy). This Great Apostasy is very evident in America, Europe, and many Western cultures and has been progressing over the past few generations. We see churches and whole denominations dying off as people reject the truth of God’s Word and surround themselves with false teaching and lies.
  20. There will be a rise in false prophets, false teachers, and false Christs. This is happening more and more as people do not want to hear sound doctrine. (How to recognize false teachers.)
  21. There will be a rise in anti-semitism. Almost every country in the world has already turned away from Israel. Check out the UN meetings this year. The UN voted overwhelmingly that Israel had no right to defend itself against attack. The UN voted overwhelmingly against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even though other countries are allowed to choose their own capital for their nations.
  22. Christians will continue to be persecuted. Christian persecution now is increasing and is worse than at any other time in history.
  23. Unbelievers will scoff at the idea of Christ’s return. 
  24. The wicked will not understand the signs of the times.
  25. Bible-believers will understand what is taking place.

There are other things going on right now, too, that point to the fact that the season of the rapture and Great Tribulation are close at hand. Jesus said, when He was on earth, “no man knows the day or the hour” (Matt. 24:36) and that not even He knew when the rapture would happen. So we are not at liberty to try to predict specific dates. In fact, we should be very alarmed at anyone who claims to know the exact date Jesus will return. That is a big flag that person is not speaking on God’s behalf.

But we are equipped by scripture to recognize the season (Matt. 24:32-33). We are to be ready every day. As we see more and more signs and prophecies being fulfilled, we are to lift up our heads because we know that “our redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28)

This is just a little taste of some of the prophecies that will be fulfilled or have been fulfilled already as we approach the last hour. May the Lord give us eyes to see and ears to hear all that He wants to share with us in this exciting time in history. And may we yield ourselves fully to be instruments in His hands for His kingdom as we have been placed here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

RESOURCES I TRUST

Of course, always weigh what any teacher says against scripture and test what they are saying with the Spirit!

Behold Israel – Amir Tsarfati (an Israeli believer who is part of the Israeli military and who does Christian tours of Israel who does updates on what is happening in the Middle East that relates to Bible prophecy)

Real Life with Jack Hibbs (a pastor in California who has prophecy updates relating to current events and who teaches on all kinds of biblical topics, including Bible prophecy)

JD Farag – (a pastor in Hawaii with a passion for Bible prophecy, the gospel, and seeing people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord who also does Bible prophecy updates)

Hope for Our Times – Don Stewart and Tom Hughes address Bible prophecy and current events

RELATED ARTICLES

Signs of the End Times – www.gotquestions.org

Articles on the End Times – by John Piper and www.desiringgod.org

Systematic Theology podcasts by Wayne Grudem about the end times on iTunes (podcasts 112-113)

 

 

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

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

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

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

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

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

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

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

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

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

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

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

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

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

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

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

SHARE

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

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

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

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

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

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

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

Is Real Joy Possible for Me?

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

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

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

DEFINING “JOY”

John Piper’s definition of joy:

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

www.gotquestions.org’s definition of joy:

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

Definition of joy – Bible dictionary

WHAT CAN DESTROY MY JOY?

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

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

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

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

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

ATTAINING JOY

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

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

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

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

WHAT REASONS DO I HAVE FOR JOY RIGHT NOW?

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE

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

RESOURCES

Verses about joy

Verses about the promises of God

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

What Is Joy? by www.gotquestions.org

How Do You Define Joy? by John Piper

How to Have a Relationship with Christ 

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

 

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