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20 Signs That God Is about to Do Something AMAZING in Someone’s Life

Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash

I have walked beside hundreds and hundreds of women on this journey. There are several telltale signs that I have noticed that I want to share with you. When I see these indicators beginning to unfold in someone’s life, it means that God is at work, opening her eyes and preparing her heart. It also means that things are about to get beautiful!

This is often a progression that happens in steps over time.

The woman (or man):

  1. Stops blaming other people, making excuses for, or justifying her sin and takes full responsibility for things she has done wrong. She admits that she is a sinner. A wretched sinner. Completely unable to be “good enough” to pass God’s standard of perfect holiness on her own. She acknowledges that she deserves to be separated from God because of her sin.
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23 
    • For the wages of sin is death… Rom. 6:23a
    • Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom. 7:24
  2. Genuinely grieves over her sins, seeing just how great a debt she owes to Jesus and just how unimaginably holy God is and how He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.
    • Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:8-10
  3. Wants God’s cleansing, healing, His new life, and a close relationship with the Lord.
    • On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
  4. Begins to grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the unconditional, divine love of Christ specifically for her and His goodness toward her, in spite of her wretched condition. Jesus left heaven and all of His glory in order to come rescue her, while she was still in rebellion against Him. He loved her with a love that is beyond human ability to fathom. She sees that there is no greater love in all the universe than the love of Jesus for His people. All other love begins to look faded and tarnished in comparison. 
    • But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
    • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5
    • That you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
  5. Humbles herself greatly before the Lord, realizing her total dependence on God’s provision. 
    • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
  6. Understands that only the perfect, finished work of Jesus on the cross can make her right with God in God’s sight. She begins to see that He lived the perfect life she could never live in her place. He died the death she deserved for her sin. He conquered sin, death, and hell on her behalf. He offers her eternal life after this life is over and abundant spiritual life in this world! God allows her to make a great exchange. Her sinfulness for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Her utter spiritual bankruptcy for Jesus’ overflowing spiritual abundance. Jesus’ death for her life. So God counts all that Jesus did as if she did those things when she receives the gift of Christ and His salvation. When God looks at her, He sees Jesus’ perfection. 
    • Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10
  7. Realizes that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe – and nothing else comes anywhere close to His worth. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. No sacrifice seems too great.
    • The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
  8. Desires to die to her old self – to her sinful nature, to her sinful desires, to her old human way of thinking, and to this world.
    • And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
    • We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom. 6:6
  9. Receives her new identity in Christ and God’s truth about her new status.
    • We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
    • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
    • But God… raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6
    • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
  10. Hungers for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God. Has a healthy spiritual appetite for confession of sin, prayer, reading the Bible, praising and thanking God, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
    • O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps. 63:1
    • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matt. 5:6
  11. Becomes teachable and ready to absorb and receive God’s truth, spiritual healing, and provision.
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
    • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
  12. Wants to do whatever it takes to be as close as possible to God, not to earn salvation or to get other things she wants, but just out of gratitude and love for the Lord – no matter the personal sacrifice involved. She wants to obey God – even if it means giving up previous priorities, time, money, sins, and completely changing her lifestyle to please the Lord. 
    • Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
  13. Accepts God’s Word as truth rather than her feelings, past experiences, past teaching in her life, the culture, and personal perception/wisdom.
    • Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
    • All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16
  14. Seeks the Lord wholeheartedly even if no one else does, even if it is lonely. Even if her husband, her family, her children, or her friends don’t understand and don’t want to change like she does.
    • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37
  15. Desires God’s will far above her own knowing there is no other place she would rather be.
    • Not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
  16. Trusts God – or determines that she wants to learn to trust God – and has new-found faith that God’s way will be best. Her fears begin to melt away.
    • For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
    • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
  17. Knows that God is good and understands God’s character as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
    • No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
  18. Is willing to give up lies about God, others, and self and rebuild her life on the Solid Rock of God’s Word alone.
    • Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matt. 7:24-25
  19. Invites the Holy Spirit to have full control in her life. She fully yields to the Lordship of Jesus. She no longer wants her sinful nature to be in control, although she can still choose to act in the sinful nature. But now, she has the ability to choose to live in the Spirit! She begins to see the Fruit of the Spirit in her life.
    • 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
    • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
  20. Begins to experience the very divine love, grace, mercy of God for others in her life. She sees them with new eyes, with heavenly eyes. She can start to see their wounds and need for Jesus. And she can begin to extend the love, grace, and mercy of God that she received to others in every day life. She becomes a fruitful instrument for God’s Kingdom.
    • For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14
    • I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

When I see these things happening, I know that God is transforming someone by the power of His Spirit. And I know that He is going to do something glorious that will bring much honor to Himself and much good to the person and the kingdom of Christ. It brings me such joy to watch God miraculously changing and healing people!

PRAYER

Lord, 

We can’t open anyone else’s eyes spiritually. We can’t even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit to resurrect people’s souls from death to new life in Jesus. We invite You into this place and into each of our hearts. We invite You to breathe Your eternal and abundant Life into our souls. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways and to bring salvation to many who didn’t know You before. And we invite You to continue Your good work, as You have promised You would, in those who know You already. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship! We long only for more and more of You – Your goodness, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your transformation for each of us to make us more like Jesus.

Thank You for the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving us so much more than we could ever comprehend! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Words and Your love for us. Empower us to choose the narrow way that leads to Life.

Amen!

 

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What are some signs you have seen in your own life, or in other people’s lives, that help you know that God is very much at work?

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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?

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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.

Patience

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A comment on this week’s post about the importance of patience as we learn to be content with what we have – really struck a chord with me. I used to be possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet at times. My time frame was in seconds, minutes and hours. That is when I wanted things to happen. NOW!

When I prayed for God to make Greg pray with me many years ago – I was ANGRY at God when Greg didn’t pray with me that night. And when I prayed for a job for Greg and it took 6 years for him to get an engineering job in town, that was NOT my time frame whatsoever. And when Greg and his dad were working on renovating our house and they said the whole house would be done in 6 months and I (generously) gave them a year in my mind – I was VERY upset when it took 4.5 years (and there are still 3 rooms that are not done and haven’t even been touched.  Of course, now I don’ t care if they are ever renovated. I’m totally content with them being 50 years old and pretty imperfect).

I can remember times that Greg would go outside that first year of renovations and he was cutting vines off of the fence in the back yard. I would march out to demand that he stop cutting the stupid vines and go finish the house! How was the house going to be done in “6 months” if he was out here “wasting precious time” cutting vines off the fence??!?!?!

Years later, Greg shared with me, when he was frustrated, he would go cut vines. He needed time to think through things and work through problems and that was how he did it.  Ugh. I feel so awful about my demands and disrespect back then. All I cared about was I wanted it all done ASAP!!!!!!!! My timing and what I wanted was all that mattered to me back then. 🙁

I believe God used those years of renovations to teach me quite a bit of patience. I had to learn to live in total chaos, mess, dust and disorder which ran completely counter to my perfectionism and my desire for our house to look “perfect” all the time. I had to learn to be patient when projects took 10 times longer than I expected them to take. I had to learn that stuff wasn’t that important and wasn’t what made a house a home – the people in the house are what make it “home.”

I read James 1 with our children this morning. I never get tired of reading Scripture – and this passage speaks to me so clearly every time I read it:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Trials, all kinds of trials ,test our faith – financial hardships, family trouble, spiritual problems, health problems, natural disasters, people’s sin against us, war, delays, accidents, conflicts, backed up plumbing, work problems, unemployment…  All the problems we face are tools in the hands of God to chisel and refine us and to make us more godly and holy in His sight.

Trials reveal our sin. They bring to light our true motives. They expose our deepest priorities. They show our real character.

As we are tested and our faith and character is refined, we develop greater godly character and we develop perseverance.

PERSEVERANCE (from www.dictionary.com):

  • steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Perseverance works in us to create spiritual maturity and to equip us to be holy and complete in Christ. These goals are much more important to God than our temporary happiness. He wants us to be mature and complete, lacking nothing in Him. He wants us to be equipped and totally ready for spiritual battle. He wants us to be like Christ.

What trials are you facing today?

My prayer is that we might look at our current trials and rejoice in God about them! Let’s anticipate how God plans to use these trials to lead us to greater Christlikeness and maturity.

PATIENCE (www.dictionary.com):

1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.

Impatience leads me to so many sins:

  • a desire to control things myself and force things to happen “my way”
  • anger – which leads to my temper flaring and me losing self-control with my words, actions, motives, thoughts, tone of voice and body language
  • lack of faith in God
  • complaining
  • lack of gratitude
  • arguing
  • disobedience
  • pride – thinking my timing is better than God’s

When I am patient, I don’t have to vie for control or try to force things to happen sooner or try to make things turn out the way I think they should. I seek God’s will above my own and I wait on Him in total faith and trust.

Patience is an attribute of God. It is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is also something we learn as we pass through trials and as we spiritually mature. Patience is a huge key to peace. If I am impatient, and I demand what I want NOW, I cannot have the peace of God. I cannot be content with what God has provided for me. I cannot have a thankful, joyful spirit and not have patience. It’s fine for me to desire things intensely – particularly things that God desires to happen – someone’s salvation, reconciliation of a marriage, many to come to Christ, our children to be godly people, etc… But then, we can lay these desires and burdens at God’s feet and wait patiently before the Lord, trusting His sovereignty and His timing to be much more wise than our own.

When I have patience, I am able to joyfully wait on God. I am able to joyfully be content with what I have. I am able to relinquish control, trusting God’s sovereignty. I am able to respect God and my husband because I know that God is ultimately going to work out all things for my good, to make me more like Jesus, so I don’t have to freak out when things don’t seem to be going “right.” I am able to be thankful to God, have a heart full of praise for God and I don’t feel any need to grumble, argue or complain. I wait expectantly before God with great faith and anticipation of all that He is going to do in my life and through this hardship. This brings great glory to our Father in heaven and to Christ as our husbands, children, coworkers, neighbors and family members watch us respond with patience, joy, faith, thanksgiving, praise, peace and contentment in the midst of our struggles and trials – they will be confused and curious and they will want to experience the power of the God who can produce this beautiful fruit in our souls in times of great crisis.

Others will pay so much more attention to our faith and our testimony when we are speaking from the midst of a fiery trial. Our words have infinitely more weight and impact when we continue on in faith, joy, hope, peace, love, kindness, patience and gentleness during our fiercest storms.

What does God’s Word say about patience?

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Proverbs 25:15

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:12

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8a

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-13

3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. II Corinthians 6

Stages of This Journey – Part 2

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

In Part 1, we talked about the beginning stages of the journey to becoming a godly wife

  1. Conviction
  2. Repentance
  3. The Frustrating Quiet Phase
  4. Seeking God First (tearing out idols and making Christ Lord)

Today, let’s continue on…  But please know that these stages are not always linear.  We cycle through some of them over and over again at times as we grow.  Some of them happen at the same time.  This is a refining process. We stumble at times.  We may not always be moving forwards.  That is normal.  But we continue to repent, get back up, seek God first and desire to obey Him above all else.  This is a LONG journey of many thousands of miles that we walk by foot.  It is not an instant thing.  You will not be the most godly wife in 1 day or 1 week or 1 month.  This is a process of many, many months and years.

5.  GIVING HIM SPACE

Giving our husbands more space is not usually a permanent phase in some ways.  It is possible it could be a long term thing, but once your husband begins to approach you and close that gap – then it is time to find a new balance and level of connection.

  • The permanent part is that we don’t make them idols again – as soon as we notice we are feeling disappointed in them, we check our motives to be sure we are only seeking our contentment in Christ, not in our husbands.

At first, we may give a little “too much space” – but that is ok.  It is important for us to do this, in my view, as we spend more time with God and try to learn and figure out how to stop disrespect and control and how to begin to be respectful and learn to be godly followers.

Giving more space is part of tearing out the idols of “trying to control our husbands,” “wanting to feel loved” and “wanting them to meet the needs we have that only Christ can meet” as well as our idols of “romance.”

If you had been smothering your husband, constantly calling/texting/emailing, expecting him to call/text/email/pursue you… if you have been pursuing him constantly and are being rejected often – then you may need to give him space so that he can breathe and begin to hear God’s voice himself again and so that you can be sure he has the freedom to make his own decisions.

The Separation-Leads-to-Greater- Intimacy  Paradox

6.  FEELING TOTALLY OVERWHELMED

Eventually, every wife feels overwhelmed in this process – not just once – but many times.  This can happen at any point along the way.

When you feel this way.  It is actually a good thing!  It usually means that

  • it is a flag that you are attempting to do this in your own strength
  • you may be allowing perfectionism to take over (that is an idol in and of itself, too!)
  • you may be trying to tackle too much at once – there is only so much you can learn and change at one time usually
  • you NEED Christ to be able to do this!!!!!!  Discouragement, discontentment and frustration are signals to set our eyes back on Jesus.

So, it’s time to slow down, breathe, and focus on Jesus.

  • You are going to basically have to “eat an elephant” on this journey.  You can’t do it all in one day or one week or one month.
  • Absorb what you can.
  • Allow God to change you.
  • Take a nap if you are exhausted
  • Take a break from studying about respect and biblical submission for a few days or a week or two as you regroup, but continue with Bible study and prayer and submitting fully to Christ.
  • Focus on a few things at a time.  If possible, you can ask your husband for the 3 biggest things he’d like you to stop doing and the 3 biggest things he’d like you to start doing.  Don’t argue.  Don’t justify yourself or explain why you were doing what you were doing before.  Thank him for his wisdom and insights and then get to work focusing on those things.  He may need a few days to think about those things, that is ok.  If he can’t verbalize what he needs, you can look at the lists at the top of my home page about what is disrespectful and respectful and begin to tackle those.  Some wives print out the lists and ask their husbands to check the things that would be the most meaningful to them.
  • If you are doing this in your own strength or you find ungodly motives or idols, repent and fix your eyes back on Christ

7.  LEARNING TO USE WORDS AND EMOTIONS TO BLESS – coming out of the quiet phase

As we get better at  NOT saying the negative sinful things, we can also begin to learn to speak this new language of respect.  We begin to learn to use words that genuinely and sincerely affirm, encourage, praise, build up and bless.   We are beginning to be able to speak with wisdom and discretion and to know when it is best to be silent and how and when to use words to edify.

This is going to feel foreign and awkward.  Much like learning to speak a new language.  At first, you will want to go back to your “native language” of disrespect because it feels normal and natural.  But, in time, as you practice this new language, eventually it will feel normal and natural and  your old sinful language will feel awkward and foreign and awful!

We still may not talk as much as we used to when we were stressed, worried, afraid, trying to control everything.  But we begin to find beautiful things to talk about, good things, and we begin to verbalize our positive feelings:

  • I’m so glad you are here
  • I love being your wife
  • I feel so full of joy today
  • I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am
  • I feel like the happiest woman on the planet!
  • I love  spending time with you
  • Thanks for listening to me
  • Thanks for eating supper with the kids and me
  • I appreciate how hard you work and how well you provide for us.
  • I love your strong work ethic
  • Thank you for your godly influence on our children
  • Thank you for being such an involved, loving father
  • I appreciate your wisdom and your willingness to share your ideas with me
  • Thank you for your leadership

By the way – I began to thank Greg for his leadership long before he began to lead.  I stepped down first.  I began to thank him for carrying the weight of responsibility, accountability before God and leadership before God in our marriage.  I thanked him for carrying that weight that was too heavy for me.  I told him I trusted him to lead us.  I told God I trusted Him to lead me through Greg and if God wanted me to do something, He would figure out how to lay it on Greg’s heart.  I told God I would not run ahead or take control anymore but just wait on God and Greg to lead me.  I told God I would be content to wait right there until I was 80 years old if I had to, but I was going to follow Greg, not lead anymore.

This involves A LOT of waiting.  I was pretty awful at waiting and possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet before.  But, thankfully, there is much to learn in the waiting and, eventually, waiting becomes sweet.

8. FINDING CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST ALONE

We begin to recognize disappointment, discontent and negative feelings as flags to help us evaluate our motives and set our eyes back on Christ to find our joy.

9. DYING TO SELF

We lay down our desires, our dreams, our plans, our goals, everything we have, everything we are, our wisdom, our lives – at Jesus’ feet.  We nail our old sinful nature to the cross to die with Christ and to be buried with Him.  We give Him all that we are.  We are “living sacrifices” for Him every day.  We learn to say in sincerity in every area of our lives, “Not my will but Yours be done.”

We put on our new self in Christ.  Then, we pick up Jesus’ desires, His dreams, His plans, His goals, His priorities, His wisdom, His identity, His heavenly riches and we seek His greatest glory.  This becomes the focus of our lives.

Now, our lives are all about Jesus, not about us.

  • We do lose our old sinful selves.  We die to that old self. (Eph 4:20-24, Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24)
  • But we gain our new selves in Christ.  We put on “the new man” in Christ.

10. DEVELOPING A GRATEFUL HEART

We focus on Philippians 4:8 and on being thankful in everything.

  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

We focus on obeying God’s command in Philippians 2:14-16 to do all things without complaining or arguing.     Complaining comes from an ungrateful spirit.  That does not ever honor God.  Arguing comes from pride – thinking I am always right.  We focus now on humility and thankfulness as we learn to praise God in every situation and trust His sovereignty and His wisdom not our own.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Phil.2:14-16 

We learn to look for the good and focus on the good in our husbands and in life in general.

We begin to speak up about the things we are thankful for, the things that are good, the things we admire, the things we see that are beautiful and praiseworthy in our husbands, in our children, in those around us, in our day, in life – and we begin to become genuinely thankful women.

The sinful thoughts happen less and less frequently and when they do pop up, we recognize them more quickly and know how to shoot them down and not dwell on them when we have God’s Spirit empowering us.

11. TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE

The only way to truly become a godly wife is to allow God to change your mind, heart and soul completely.  A big part of this is learning to capture each thought and evaluate it against the truth of God’s Word and reject sinful thoughts, only holding on to the godly, biblical thoughts.

This means you will have to recognize your thoughts.  For me, I had to write down the “tapes” that would play over and over in my head.  Then I had to compare what I was saying to myself with God’s Word.  I had to replace the lies and sin with the truth of God’s Word.

Eventually, the sinful “tapes” stop playing in our minds all the time.  The worry, resentment, fear, bitterness, etc… go away as we kick them out and as we replace those thoughts with meditating on God’s Word, memorizing scripture, meditating on worship songs that exalt Christ…

One day, you realize that there is no constant chatter going on in your head and that you are not worrying anymore – and there is this amazing calm in your soul – God’s peace!

WOW!

God is REALLY addictive!  In the BEST way! You will want to do anything to keep God’s peace flowing in your heart.   We can do this by staying in God’s Word, seeking Him first, repenting of every sin as soon as we are aware of it, and focusing on learning more about God’s sovereignty and being thankful.

12. FEELING DISCOURAGED BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND “ISN’T CHANGING”

When our husbands don’t change right away, we can easily think, “Respect doesn’t work on my husband.”  But this long time of focusing on becoming a godly wife while not seeing changes in our husbands is often good for us.  God refines our motives during this time.

As soon as you think, “Why should I do all this work and he doesn’t have to do anything?!?!”  or “Why should I have to change first?” Let that be your flag to remember why you are doing this.

  • You are doing this to please and honor and obey Christ.  You are doing this to bless your husband.

If these are not our only motives, there is work to do in prayer. It is a good thing to desire a healthy marriage and close intimacy with our husbands. But our ultimate goal must be Christ!

God and your husband will handle your husband.  Husbands will not instantaneously change in most cases.  That’s ok.  We can decide to accept, love, respect and honor our husbands as they are right now – even if they never change.  That is the kind of love God desires us to have toward everyone.  We learn to love unconditionally and respect unconditionally just because God asks us to, not because we think the other person “deserves it” or because we will get something in return.

This is a fantastic opportunity to commit yourself to obeying God’s commands for you as a wife no matter what your husband does or does not do.  And it is a great chance to learn to love with the unconditional agape love of God.  It is also quite a peek into God’s heart to see how He loves us even when we don’t love Him in return.

This is also a good chance to look to see if there are still ways you may be unintentionally disrespecting your husband (tone of voice, pressuring him to do things, body language, scowling, sighing, rolling your eyes, etc…)

STAGES OF THIS JOURNEY

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

RELATED:

Nina Roesner’s description of stages of this journey to become a godly wife

“So, When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?”

I’d like to welcome a number of new wives who are just beginning this journey toward becoming the godly wives God calls us to be.

It can be a bit overwhelming at first as you begin to look at all that you don’t know and all that it seems needs to be changed.  A lot of you have very valid concerns and questions.  If you have a question I have not addressed here, please leave it for me in the comments and we will talk about it!

  • This seems like more than I can handle.
  • When does the peaceful part start?
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (Part 2)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice and power in the marriage (Part 2)
  • I feel so lonely. (Part 3)
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (Part 3)
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.  Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (Part 4)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
  • But I’m right! (Part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  I am the better leader.  I should be in charge! (Part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)
  • Wives who have been on this journey for awhile – please share your wisdom with the wives who are at the beginning of the trail.  I may anonymously share your comments in another post, too, if that is ok. 🙂

1. This seems like more than I can handle.

YES!  If you feel that way – that is a GOOD THING.  It means that you realize that you can’t do this on your own – that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be the godly woman God commands you to be in your own power.  That is a critical first step because it is only through the power of God’s Spirit filling you up and giving you supernatural power that you can be the wife of His dreams.  You can’t do this without Him.  In your own power, all you can do is have the sinful nature in control.

The results of the sinful nature being in control are predictable and written for us in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The thing to realize is that if I have ANY of these things going on in my life and mind and soul – I am being powered by the sinful nature.

When God’s Spirit is in charge, the results are also predictable and are written for us in Galatians 5:22-25:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

If I don’t have all of the fruit of the Spirit growing in us on an increasing basis pretty much daily – something is SERIOUSLY wrong with my walk with Christ Jesus.

Either:

1. I never actually received Him as my Savior and Lord – accepting His gift of His death for me in my place as payment for all of my sins against God and giving my life completely to Him for Him to now be in charge.

2. I am not living with Him as Lord and am cherishing sin in my heart.  Often, the biggest ones are

  • PRIDE – thinking I know best and I know better than God and His Word doesn’t apply to me, I am justified in not obeying His Word
  • idolatry  – making something else most important in my life – I MUST HAVE THIS THING to be happy.  If that thing I must have to be content is not Jesus – I am in sin.
  • unforgiveness – If I refuse to forgive others when they sin against me, Jesus says God will not forgive me – Matthew 6.

If I have grieved the Spirit of God – I don’t have His power blasting through my soul and empowering me to do things that I cannot do on my own.

I need to:

  • admit my sin is wrong and offends God’s holiness. (I John 1:9)
  • ask for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus that He shed for me.  He paid for all of my sin as if He had committed the wrongs I have done.  He bore the full wrath of God that I deserved in my place so that I can be made right with God by His goodness.  He puts His holiness and righteousness (right standing before God) in my account and He puts my sin in His account when I trust Him and put my full faith in Him.  He took my death and punishment and when I receive this gift He gives me, He gives me His life with God and the spiritual riches of heaven.  I don’t deserve this.  I deserve hell.  I can’t earn God’s favor.  I can’t earn God’s pleasure with me on my own.  But Jesus can give me a new heart and soul and I can stand before God with the righteousness of Jesus as my robe – so that when God sees me – He sees His perfect Son.  I don’t understand how all that happens.  But I am SURE THANKFUL He is able to do that for me!  WHAT GREAT NEWS!
  • turn away from my sin 180 degrees and stop doing it and turn to God.
  • die to my old sinful self – nail it to the cross to die and be buried with Christ – then I can  put on my new self in Christ. (Galatians 5:24)
  • seek to obey God in EVERYTHING and allow His Spirit to fill me daily. (Ephesians 5:18)
  • have my only goals in life to be to know God, to desire to please Him, to obey Him, to do His will and to bring Him the greatest glory
  • give myself as a living sacrifice to Jesus daily.  I lay down my rights, my wisdom, my plans, my life, my desires, my possessions, my future, my family, my marriage, my everything.  Then I pick up His wisdom, His plans, His desires, His power, His strength, His holiness, His will and I seek His glory alone.
  • focus on the good things God has done for me and given to me and have a thankful heart. (Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:8)
  • do not worry or trust SELF anymore, but trust God with all my heart. (Philippians 4:4-8)

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, He will obey My teaching.  My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.”  John 14:23-24a

If Jesus is my LORD – my answer to Him is always, “Yes!!!”  There is NOTHING He can ask me to do that I won’t do.

2. When Does the Peaceful Part Start?

You actually control a lot of the speed of this process.

Becoming a peaceful wife has NOTHING to do with our husbands or our marriages – it has EVERYTHING to do with our relationship with Christ.

If you cling to sin and cherish it more than you cherish obeying Jesus and being full of His Spirit and repenting of sin – you will have a long time of pain, frustration and struggling.

The beginning of this journey is PAINFUL.  It is hard to give up idols and face our sin!  And it is terrifying to stop trusting self and seeking to feel loved and to learn to trust God if we have not done that before.

The sooner you learn to trust God and put all your faith in Him and the sooner you embrace His wisdom and repent of your sin – the sooner you will experience His supernatural peace and joy.

  • I must be willing to give up EVERYTHING that offends God.  Every single thing.
  • I must be willing to obey Christ and make Him LORD of everything in my life.
  • I must submit 100% of myself and my life to Jesus.  I have to wrestle with my fears and beliefs and God’s Word until I can get to the point that I can honestly say, “Not my will but Yours be done, Jesus.”
  • I must be willing to obey Him no matter what the personal cost to myself.

When your sinful nature is no longer in control – but you have died to your old sinful self – and God’s Spirit is in control and you are walking in obedience to His Word – the peace will come automatically.  God gives His spiritual gifts to those who live by faith, who trust Him completely and who obey Him, even when there is suffering and hardship.

  • It was really shocking to me at first when I began to experience it.  I usually had worry and anxiety and fears running constantly through my head all the time.  But when I finally repented of all my sin and idols and unforgiveness – I realized one day that that voice wasn’t going all the time.  Things were still and calm in my head.  That was WEIRD and DIFFERENT. Then it dawned on me that this strange feeling was PEACE.

Wow!

It felt SO GREAT!!!!!

Let me warn  you – God’s peace is SUPER addictive.  Once you experience it-  you will be willing to do anything to have it again if you lose it. 🙂

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3

SOME OTHER WIVES SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES:

1. Angelique:

I have been on this journey for 17 months and it does take a while! I, too, am so glad you are on this journey. It takes so much courage and strength to do this. There are days that are so hard and days that are so wonderful. I tell April all the time, “I hated you and loved you at the same time.” I hated that my old self had to die to its old ways of wanting to be pleased all the time but then I loved her because of the truth she was fueling me with. The truth has truly changed me and my marriage.

So don’t give up and if you feel like you want to, just reach out and we are all here on this journey with you. Trust in God’s perfect plan. The Bible says, He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

The one thing I learned early on was – I had made my husband an idol in my heart. I had to learn to replace Jesus as my one and only God. That was extremely hard for me because I had my whole identity wrapped up in how my husband made me feel. So if I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from him that day then chances were, I was having a crummy-feeling day.

I had to learn how God felt about me. I had to daily and moment by moment remember God’s intense love for me – that I was uniquely and wonderfully made. That He had a great plan for my life. That I was beautiful and precious to Him. When I knew that, like really knew that, there was this overwhelming peace and joy that flooded my heart. Sure, I still wished my husband would be romantic and pursue me more ,but my world didn’t get shaken when he didn’t.
I also had to notice the ways my husbands was showing his love or trying to be romantic. Some times I needed a magnifying glass to actually see them, but I delighted in each one.

The more I began to focus on God, the happier and more peaceful I became. The less I controlled him and nagged my husband, the lighter I felt. The more I focused on my sin, the more gracious I became.

Then somehow like magic, my husband started to miss me and wanted to be with me more. And the more I invested into my husband’s life as an act of love (not wrong motives…you have to be careful with that) the more intrigued I became with this person I married. God gave me a window into my husband’s heart and I began to see things and learn things about him I never knew after 8 years of marriage. Now I truly delight in just being with him, even if its watching him build things in the garage. Sometimes he invests back into me and sometimes he doesn’t. I’m okay with that! God knows the desires of my heart and I fully trust God with them!

I am so glad you are here and working on improving your marriage. I know God is pleased you are trying to honor Him by being a godly wife.

2. A Fellow Wife

We all have down days.

There is a sadness in realizing that things are not going to be like you thought they would. But I promise you, there is true peace in this path. I have been on this journey for 13 months but things really just started clicking into place for me 2 months ago. It takes time. And you can do this.

Realize this – God’s plan is good. It may not feel good at the moment but some day you will look back and see that His plan is so much better than what you originally thought you wanted in marriage.

I once heard this in a marriage seminar and it has helped me tremendously. God does not tell us to submit to our husbands because he thinks we are inferior. He is giving us the KEY to our husbands heart by telling us to submit. Our soft, submissive behavior draws our husbands to us and makes them respond in ways that we have long dreamed they would. They don’t always do it exactly when we want them to. But it does happen.

You can certainly tell your husband things you want in your marriage. But letting him decide when to give you these things is giving him the ability to give you a very sweet gift that you will savor and treasure. Instead of him giving it to you because you are demanding it, he is giving it to you – when he chooses to do so – as a gift from his heart.

Yes, you are a sheep but that does not mean you are not infinitely precious to God. Do you know that God has your very name written in the palm of his hand? (Isaiah 49:16) If you were the only one on earth, He still would have sent His Son for you. Don’t doubt your worth. God’s Word also says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I do this when I am feeling down. Write down 10 wonderful things about your husband. Things like he is affectionate or he tells you he loves you daily. Whatever they are. Even going to work for your family makes the list- that is a huge thing and how most men feel is a way they can show love the best. Making a list like this always makes me feel better and reminds me how blessed I am to have my husband.

Coming to that place where you decide you can be okay either way is HARD. There is no getting around that fact. I had some real days of grieving when I realized that I had to give every hope and dream into God’s hands to see what He would do.

But He has not failed me. I did this with no expectation of return. BUT my husband has actually done some very sweet and unexpected things since that time to show his love for me. Are they things on my time table? Nope. Are they exactly what I would have ‘ordered’ him to give me? Nope. But they are honestly much, much sweeter.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

We’ll look at the other questions from the top of this article in the next few posts.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Nina Roesner wrote a post about the normal stages that wives go through on this journey.

My YOUTUBE CHANNEL – “April Cassidy”

“Can I ‘Have It All’?”

pbk-1

firework

From a wife and sister in the Lord, Veronica Alejar, from the Philippines – with her permission:

I used to think that I “had it all”. I was a TV news anchor/mother of 3/wife/businesswoman-baker, etc. etc. People always stopped to ask how I could multi-task and well, have it all!

I thought that I was glorifying God by being so busy.

After all, it was Him who gave me all these talents, right? I can sing, dance, act, do newscasts, bake/decorate, etc… and I felt that everybody wanted a piece of me. And I gave it my all to all, which made for a “spread-too-thin” woman. Thing is, I think I was able to fulfill all roles to the max, as in 110 percent. But I knew for sure, something or somebody was suffering amidst all that busy-ness.

But, weirdly enough, it is now that I have given up my career in broadcasting and am focusing on our 4 kids including an infant, and submitting to my husband, that I feel most at peace and dare I say it, happy and fulfilled.

I am not closing doors to going back to a career in broadcasting. But I have lost my desire to be a “superstar.” Praise God! I  have realized my deepest fear before was to be deemed “a nobody“. Being that busy in my career made me feel like “somebody.” But that was a fluke. That’s a deception by the devil. That was my idol — pride in self disguised as low self esteeem —  adding onto the self to make me feel that I mattered. 

I know now that I don’t need to add onto myself any accolade or achievement. I mattered simply for the mere fact that I am a Child of God. 🙂

My journey is just beginning and already I am reaping the benefits of following God’s lovely Design for Marriage! I feel so loved by my husband. I feel so protected under his leadership. I feel so peaceful. 🙂

Guess what? I have barely been practicing submission for two months, but just yesterday, while hubby and I were shopping for furniture for our new home, he said out of the blue,

I want you to blog about your journey. Write your own version of the Peacefulwife’s blog for the Philippines. Our country is in dire need of role models to follow. I am sick and tired too of hearing about husbands and fathers saying that the worst thing that can happen to a man is to get married and have kids. Why do most men feel that way? Shouldn’t we feel happy that we got married and have children?

He also said something that made my heart leap. 😀

“I am enjoying this, whatever it is you are doing. I am reaping all its benefits. I wish for more married couples to experience this.”

Praise God!!!!! April!
My husband is enjoying my submissive spirit, to the point that he wants me — ex-controlling, scared-to-death of the submissive journey, but obedient daughter of God, to minister to the women in our country through the net! Like you!

I am still discerning this, April, but I will follow my husband when I am ready to start writing. All this is sooooooo new and alien to me, I am daunted to be honest, to write anything about it, but if the Lord so wills (after much prayer), I will have to do it. Please pray for me too, okay, sis? 🙂

Your posts are truly a rich find and not just written for the sake of writing. They are well thought of, discerned, and full of love.

God bless you dear sister in Christ. You are a joy to us wives. 🙂 God surely is pleased with your ministry.

—————————————————————

FROM PEACEFULWIFE – A FEW THOUGHTS:

It’s important for us to look at the messages we have been consuming all our lives and question them in light of God’s Word before we just swallow what we hear and build our lives on ungodly premises – which is what I did for a long time, sadly.

The truth is  – it can be almost IMPOSSIBLE to do all of these things well all at the same time – being a wife, a mom, work a full time job, take care of a home and have any kind of quality of life and enjoyment.  That can be an extremely difficult balance to try to achieve.

Younger ladies, before you go down this path – talk to some women in their 40s or 50s who tried to have it all and see where they ended up.  There is only so much time in the week and in each day.   If you are working 8-9 hours/day, then you actually only have supper and bedtime with your children (if you work from 9am-5pm on week days).  You will be rushing ALL the time.

  • You rush in the morning to get yourself ready for work, your children ready for school.
  • You rush home and try to handle supper as quickly as possible.   When you have young children, many of them go to bed by 7pm.  So you have to get them fed, bathed and put down for bed right away.
  • Time becomes the priority in preparing meals, not nutrition, enjoying each other’s company or keeping costs down.
  • You rush through supper (if you even sit down as a family together at all- many families eat fast food in the car on the way to the next sporting activity or musical lesson).
  • Then you try to get the children to rush through their homework.
  • You rush the children through getting ready for bed and then rush them to sleep.
  • You rush through trying to catch up with all the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, bill-paying and chores once the children are in bed because there is no other time to handle all of this

Relationships and intimacy require TIME.

THE FIRST THINGS TO GO

A woman who works full time or even part time, who is a believer in Christ, who is married, who has children and a home to take care of has to let things go somewhere.  She cannot do everything.

Usually here is what goes:

  • patience – when we are rushing – we are NOT our best selves for anyone.
  • time with God – We say God is our priority.  But relationship with Him takes TIME.  Serious time.  We can’t spiritually starve ourselves, never talk to Him and never be still and calm and quiet and listen to Him and have a strong, intimate, dynamic, powerful, Spirit-filled relationship with Jesus.  But “the tyranny of the urgent” takes over and all the urgent things that need to be done so quickly consume our time at the expense of our greatest priority in life.
  • time with our husbands – we are so exhausted and stressed that we are up late helping kids with homework, finishing chores, walking the dog, cleaning up from supper, ironing the clothes for tomorrow – that we collapse exhausted into bed at 10:00 or 11:00 or 12:00 at night and have ZERO energy left to give our husbands.  We don’t have time to hear about his day.  We don’t have time to hear about what he wants in his life or about his dreams.  We don’t have time to connect emotionally – and then because we are so exhausted and don’t have time to connect emotionally – we would rather sleep than connect sexually.  And we miss out on building those times of spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy that keep our marriage going strong.
  • time with our children – (Working moms – if you are not able to change your situation right now – please do not read this next part – I am targeting women who have not had children yet so that hopefully they can think about these things before having children – I don’t want to add an ounce of guilt to women who are working and already struggling with balance and don’t feel there is a choice for them right now.)   When we are working full time or even part time – there are so many little precious moments that we miss out on because we aren’t there.  That first smile, the baby’s first steps, her first word, his first tooth, her first wave.  But we miss out on more than just the milestones.  We miss out on that daily interaction, reading together more, going on walks, going to the zoo, cuddling, talking about God, teaching our children to love God’s Word, singing together, making forts together, building train tracks together, discovering the Robin’s nest on the front porch together, talking about what the bully said at school, visiting her at lunch each week, the ride home from school when he is most likely to share all the details about his day.  We also miss out on monitoring friendships and priorities and hurt feelings and misunderstandings in our children’s hearts.   We aren’t there and it is much harder to control the worldly influences they are exposed to after school before we get home.  It’s super easy for working moms to feel overwhelming guilt.  Our children grow up so quickly.  We don’t get another chance at this life.  This is our one shot.
  • time for friends – When we are so crazy busy – we lose touch with godly girlfriends and even our own mothers and sisters and extended family.
  • time for self –  Another thing that is very difficult to fit in when we are working a lot is time to exercise.  Time to just relax.  TIME TO SLEEP!  Time to eat healthy meals.  Time to savor nature.  Time to enjoy a book.  Time to do a hobby.  We miss out on these self-nurturing, important things that replenish and rejuvenate our hearts, minds, souls and bodies.

When our time is limited because we are working so much – we cannot give everything we want to give to our jobs, our children, our husbands, God or ourselves.  We end up spreading ourselves VERY, VERY thin.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice.  We just have to do the best with what we have.  God is able to use that – even if it is a painful time – for our ultimate good. He is sovereign – even over situations we don’t want to happen that we can’t change.

But sometimes – maybe we have more choices than we think we do.

Or – maybe God might be able to open doors or change circumstances in ways we never imagined if we begin to pray for His will in all of these important areas and seek His power to move our lives according to His desires, His priorities and His greatest glory.

My husband didn’t want me to stop working 24 hours/week part time as a pharmacist in 2009.  I wanted to be home more with our children.   Three days before Christmas that year (and 1 week before our daughter’s birthday and 2 weeks before our son’s birthday) – Walgreens cut my hours from 24/week to 8/week without warning.  Then last April, my 12 hour/week job at an independent pharmacy suddenly got cut to 3 hours/week.  Soon my job will be back to 12 hours per week and my husband is very thankful.

God is sovereign.  

I can trust Him.  I want to seek His will – even when things look impossible or I can’t see what the answer might be.  He will move mountains when we put all our faith in Him and seek to obey and honor Him and submit to Him in everything.  And even if our circumstances don’t change, He will change US.  Sometimes that is the most important thing.

My part as a disciple of Christ is – am I willing to lay it all down and be content in Him no matter what happens in my circumstances?

If you are interested, I will add a little bit in the comment section about how God tested my greatest fear when I began to submit to Greg’s leadership.  My greatest fear was that Greg would want me to work more.  I believed God wanted me to be home – ALL the time.  I didn’t think Greg would listen to God back then.  Every month for the first 6 months or so that I was committed to honoring Greg’s leadership, I got a new job offer for more hours out of the blue – that I didn’t want or ask for!  If you’d like to hear what happened-  let me know and I’ll give you the details.  It was pretty interesting!  And terrifying for me at first.  But God tested me to see if I would trust Him to lead me through Greg or not.  And He tested me again… and again… and again…  Eventually, I learned to live in His peace even in uncertainty.  I am sure I will have many opportunities to do more of that in the future!

WHAT IS IMPORTANT?

The truth is – wives and moms NEED time to spend with God, time with their husbands to relax, time with girlfriends, time to exercise, time to sleep, time to take good care of their own spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health!  That’s just how we are made.  We are NOT above the limitations of our bodies.  If we ignore our needs and don’t take good care of ourselves, we’ll run ourselves into the ground and be pretty useless to everyone!

***  Younger ladies, please keep in  mind that your body is designed to be most fertile to have babies in your 20s and early 30s.  If you decide to have your career first and think you’ll have time for babies after you are 35, you may be set up for huge heartbreak!  I pray that believing women might work with their biology when making plans!

WHAT WILL YOUR DECISIONS LOOK LIKE?

I am definitely not in any position to tell you what God wants you to do with your life. 

My desire is for each woman to seek God and be in the center of His will for her life.  As believers in Christ, it is our job to lay every part of our lives and ourselves before Him in total submission and surrender – allowing Him to lead us however He thinks is best.  He is our LORD.  He is in charge now, not us.  It is about what He wants now, not what we want.  We die to self and seek His priorities and His honor and pleasure now.  That means, we seek what God wants even if it is unpopular or weird or anti-cultural or not politically correct.  If He is Lord – only His opinion matters to me.

  • If God wants you to work full-time – awesome!  Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there and in your marriage and family!
  • If He wants you part-time – wonderful!  Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there, in your marriage and family!
  • If He wants you home all the time – terrific!  Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there!

No matter where He calls us to be – the key is what HE wants – not what we want.

These are things that each woman and each married couple must hash out with God and between themselves.

When I was making career choices and decisions about what I would want in the future as a young woman, I didn’t see much information out there about how to prioritize and strive for balance and keep the important things central.  I see God use me in the pharmacy to minister and bless people.  My husband wants me to work 1-2 days per week – so I do.  I’m thankful for my job and I am thankful for the chance to be home so much with my children.

I pray that you will be able to find just the right balance and fulfillment in your life that will most honor Christ and most bless your husband, children, marriage, and those in your sphere of influence.

Much love to each of you, my precious sisters in Christ!

RESOURCES:

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn is a GREAT book about seeing God’s will for His people, for women in particular and then for us as individuals and about how to keep our priorities truly our priorities in practice in our lifestyle.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL women – single and married.

God’s Spiritual Authority Structure

She Who Has Been Forgiven Much, Loves Much

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This week we have seen that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) – that women and men are equally sinful and equally in desperate need of the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

We took a look at how I thought I was such a “good person” or “good Christian” for so many years – and then how God revealed to me the depths of my own sin and depravity in December of 2008 when I read the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a]you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.  James 8:2-11

I have broken many of God’s commands – too many times to even count.  I am a law-breaker.

Today – we look at Jesus’ incredible mercy, grace and forgiveness that He offers freely to all who put their faith completely in Him as both Savior AND Lord.  And we look at the only proper response to Him.

LUKE 7 – A parable of Jesus:

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty.42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

43 Simon (the pharisee) replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

FROM PEACEFULWIFE :

I used to think that this parable of Jesus meant that I would never be able to love Him as much as, say, a murderer, a thief, an adulterer – you know – a REALLY AWFUL sinner.  I figured that those kinds of people would be able to love Jesus a lot once they repented and turned to Him because they had been horrible sinners.  But I would never be able to love Him that deeply because I was “not a really awful sinner.”

Then God showed me the depths of my sin (yesterday’s post).

Suddenly, I saw that I, April Cassidy, am a wretched sinner.  Not just a bit of a sinner – but a wretched sinner.  I realized that there is no human on earth who has more sin than I do in the sight of my holy God.  I realized for the first time the MASSIVE sin debt I owed to God.  I didn’t just owe Him a few thousand bucks.  I owed Him billions.  Me.  And I had no way to repay Him.

I wanted to run away and live in a cave for the rest of my life.

  • For the first time, I realized just how spiritually impoverished I was.  For the first time I realized that there truly was NO GOOD in me at all.  Jesus calls this being “poor in spirit” – and He blesses this posture of humility in the beatitudes.
  • For the first time, I realized just how much Jesus paid for on my behalf on the cross – how much I deserved that punishment and God’s wrath on my wickedness.
  • For the first time, I saw the depths of the grace, love, mercy and forgiveness of Christ.
  • For the first time, I realized that I had been forgiven MUCH.

Then I began to love Jesus MUCH.

MY RESPONSE

I became willing to:

  • fall on my face in the deepest mourning and weeping over my sin – repent and turn to Christ
  • give up anything for Jesus – anything He calls sin – I want it GONE.
  • surrender my life to Jesus daily, being His servant, His slave – I owe Him EVERYTHING!  How could I do anything less than sacrifice all that I am, all that I have and all that I might ever be?  He is so worthy!
  • throw out everything my culture had taught me that was against the Word of God, even if it meant I looked crazy to the world.  I didn’t care.
  • seek to please Jesus and honor Him no matter the cost.
  • grant Him total access to my heart and my life, holding nothing back.
  • die to myself, nail my sinful nature to the cross (as often as it takes) – then give up my wisdom, my understanding, my culture, my political correctness, my feminist and worldly mindset, my materialism, my selfishness, my pride, my desires, my plans, my hopes, my rights and my dreams
  • live for Christ – pick up my cross and embrace His wisdom, His understanding, His desires, His plans, His Word, His will, His dreams and seek His glory alone.
  • make Jesus truly LORD of my life and keep Him as THE FOCUS and PURPOSE of my life.
  • seek His face, desire to know Him more, have the deepest hunger to read His Word, hear His voice and be in His presence.
  • praise Him in my heart all day long every day.
  • develop a thankful, grateful heart for all He has done for me.
  • give up seeking the approval of other people.
  • give up every idol – my pride, my desire for control, my feelings of being loved – and to see my idols as poison.
  • wait on God – as long as it takes – but I refused to run ahead and try to take control anymore.  I decided I would wait right where I was until I was 80 years old if I had to – but I was not going to run ahead of God or my husband’s leadership any more.
  • become a sincere disciple of Christ with total devotion to Him.
  • face my deepest fears and take a leap of faith, trusting Christ Jesus to be strong enough and wise enough to lead me.
  • trash my understanding of godliness, Christianity, femininity, masculinity, marriage, family, God, Jesus, God’s Word and build completely from scratch on the foundation of Christ and His Word alone.  Even if I was the only one who chose this path.  Nothing mattered anymore but Jesus, knowing and loving Him, serving Him, pleasing Him and bringing Him glory and praise.
  • find my contentment completely in Christ alone – no matter what my circumstances may be.
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