Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, proverbs, religion, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized, wisdom

The Great Destructive Force

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?  Proverbs 27:4

When I delved into research about envy vs. jealousy I came across this interesting view from Psychology Today: 

“Although jealousy is a painful emotional experience, evolutionary psychologists regard it not as an emotion to be suppressed but as one to heed—as a signal or a wake-up call that a valued relationship is in danger and that steps need to be taken to regain the affection of a mate or friend. As a result, jealousy is seen as a necessary emotion, because it preserves social bonds and motivates people to engage in behaviors that maintain important relationships.”

Jealousy, unlike envy, is about emotional needs within relationships.  Be it between spouses, children and parents, or even between co-workers and a boss.  “My mother loves my sister more than me.”  “My wife pays too much attention to our neighbor.”  “He’s always playing up to the boss for compliments.”  These are all situations where a person is seeking to fulfill emotional needs through the wrong outlet.  When we feel jealousy arise in our hearts it should be a warning to evaluate where our prideful hearts are seeking to fulfill all its needs.


In the books of Mark and Luke a scene unfolds wherein the disciples argue amongst themselves who is the greatest of them.  They all want to be seen as the “top dog” alongside Jesus.  Who does Jesus love more?  Who does He rely on the most?  All signs of a strain of jealousy woven among them.  And true to Jesus’ ability to cut through the sin of man He reminds them all that they are to be the “least” among men.  To accept His love as little children, with innocence and grace.  James later reminds us of jealousy’s dangerous results: “You desire and do not have so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

Friend, as Samuel Rutherford once wrote, “There is so much in our Lord’s pantry that will satisfy His children, and much wine in His cellar that will quench all their thirst.”  He admonishes us to live on Christ’s love alone.  When we place all our emotional needs in one human relationship we are sure to be disappointed. And disappointment can lead to jealousy.  As Rutherford goes on to say, “Let those who love this present world have it; Christ is the more worthy and noble portion; blessed are those who choose Him.”

Loving Lord, thank you for being a fountain of love that never runs dry.  A place I can return to over and over to refresh me.  Help me to seek your love above all so I can place my earthly relationships in the right place in my heart.  Amen

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, proverbs, religion, Transformation Prayer, Uncategorized, wisdom

Peace-Creating Discipline

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:23

Charles Spurgeon, one of the most prolific pastors of all time said just a few weeks before his death, “I look back, and remember what I might have done and have not done; what opportunities of usefulness I have not seized; what sins I have allowed to pass unrebuked; what struggling beginners in grace I have failed to help.”  A man who had spoken to millions.  Who brought the good news of Jesus’ healing lights to so many, this man in all humility felt he could have done more.  

How many of us can say we have used our time as wisely for the Lord?  How many of us have instead placed so many other activities ahead of helping others out of their darkness?  Of allowing the Holy Spirit to help us out of our own darkness?

When we hear the words “Christian discipline” it may cause us to cringe or to worry about what will be required of us or what we will have to give up.  It sounds harsh and monk-like.  Our thoughts on it may be borrowed from what the world may think of Christians – joyless, rule followers.  However, we are told throughout Proverbs that God’s idea of discipline is actually a lifesaver, peace creator, and joy maker.  

Because God loves all of us – believer and non – He yearns for us to live on the disciplined path.  One that seeks to keep us from the darkness of sexual immorality, greed, self-importance, violence, and more.  

Christian discipline includes these aspects: spiritual, social, physical and mental.  Each, when practiced close in hand with Jesus, is intended to live the full, beautiful, peaceful and joy-filled life God wants for us.  When we stay in His Word and prayer, when we are careful and loving with our relationships with others, when we are good stewards of our bodies, and when we keep our thoughts free of lust, greed and self, we will find our paths simpler.  Our decisions about life get easier.  That’s not to say we won’t encounter push back from the world or even trials.  But in the midst of all that life will throw at us, our Christian discipline will keep the path forward clear.  

Heavenly Father, help me to develop a disciplined life that aligns with your Word so that I may become more like Jesus and experience the life you intend for me.  Amen

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, religion, Uncategorized

The Hope That Will Come

www.emboldened.net

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34

How many of you need to not just hear these words but soak them deep into your heart right now?  For the last few years, we humans have been through a lot of turmoil.  I won’t say it was the most difficult time ever because I realize the world has been around a lot longer than my 58 years.  In the two world wars alone, it’s estimated 120,000,000 people died.  That doesn’t include the folks who passed from ordinary daily illness, accidents, and old age.  

This year, as so many of us tried to go back to our lives post shutdowns and lockdowns, we found ourselves back in the ordinariness of trials, tragedy, human depravity, illness, lost dreams, violence, and political infighting.  And so, we cry out to God for peace, for healing, for freedom from suffering.

I’ve been pretty quiet this year with my writing as I also deal with the world coming at me from all sides.  With the sudden loss of my beautiful “other mother” I have felt so alone at times.  I scroll back over her last text messages to me and I can hear her voice so clearly.  Since that time, we have celebrated graduations, milestone birthdays, anniversaries, and now the holidays.  In addition, my husband’s business has yet to recover from the financial destruction the last few years have wrought.  We have seen future goals dissolve into mist.  And still we find joy.  We find peace and we find hope.


I listened as my neighbor recently listed all the tragedies that have befallen his family over the past year and I heard the pain in his voice.  What I didn’t hear was how Jesus is helping them cope.  They are going it alone.  On the flip side I sit with my friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  And she is hope-filled.  She is finding joy and goodness in the face of something so scary.  She sees God working in every corner of her life, bringing the right people to her and watching her diagnosis heal broken relationships.  While her earthly doctors will work to heal her body, her faith is also healing her.  Healing her soul and heart.  Comforting and bringing peace to her mind.

I was recently asked in an Advent study to write what I hope for next year.  More importantly it asked how I would react if none of those hopes came to fruition.  It then asked this: list the things you can find hope in that you KNOW will come to pass because of Jesus Christ.  And here’s my answer.  I know that Jesus will never leave me or forsake me.  I know that Jesus has a better, more beautiful place waiting for all of those who believe.  I know that whatever I go through next year God loves me and he loves you.

So I’m starting next year closely tethered to the hope I know will come to pass.  Beginning January 1, I invite you to join me on a 31 day journey through God’s words of wisdom.  His playbook for a life lived as best we humans can.  He is not a god who keeps secret how to more smoothly navigate through the trials and tribulations of life.  No, besides the Book of Proverbs He has given us so much wisdom and insight into the Christian life.  A life that may at times look very different to the rest of the world but a life that is intended to bring about goodness, grace, mercy, and love.

Please join me for 31 Days of God’s Wisdom and invite your friends, families and neighbors.  Be sure to have them sign up at www.emboldened.net to receive their daily email.  In this way you can be a part of spreading His message around the world!

God bless you and Merry Christmas.

30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, religion, Uncategorized

Our Father

“ In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12

Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen

Awhile back I was listening to a podcast that broke down how and what to pray.  They started with what we call “The Lord’s Prayer,” (Luke 6:9-16) the beginning of which was my prayer for today.  They looked at the use of the word “Father.”  Our Christian faith is so unique in this view of our most Holy God.  We don’t pray to some mysterious, unattached, non-relational being.  In fact, one of Jesus’ missions while on earth was to show believers this new relationship – that of a loving father.  

I have read other people change the word “Father” to “Daddy,” and that seems to go a bit far as the pastors on the podcast also agreed.  It’s almost too familiar, without the reverence God deserves.  While others who have been terribly hurt by fathers or father figures may go to great lengths to dismiss even using a father reference at all.  But God is always seeking to realign us with His kingdom – not the world of sin.  Jesus draws us into this new relationship showing us what God’s glorious Eden will look like when we arrive.  And it is full of love, kindness, grace and forgiveness.

20 “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

I’m not sure if there’s any better story in the Bible to describe God’s role as “father” to His adopted children than the one told of the prodigal son in Luke 15.  When I heard a pastor speak on it, especially verse 20, it transformed me.  You see, the father didn’t meet his son halfway, he didn’t make him come all the way to the house.  He didn’t even first require repentance or repayment.  “While he (the son) was a long way off…”  When word came, probably from people on the outskirts of town, that this wayward son was coming home, his father lifted up his tunic so he could run. He ran to his son – filled with compassion and love.  

God seeks us.  He yearns for us to believe – without needing us at all.  How beautiful and glorious is that?  I recently read in a study that we aren’t all God’s children.  Yes, you read that right.  We are all made in the image of God; but can’t all call Him “Father.”   We must at least start that journey back to Him as the prodigal son did.  He realized he needed the protection and blessings of his father. 

Friend, the day we told God, “I believe in you and I believe you sent your Son to free me of my sins” we received our adoption papers.  He wrote us into the will for the inheritance.  Whatever type of father you’ve had on the earth pales in comparison to the one who has adopted you into His heavenly kingdom.  I, for one, count that the most glorious blessing of all.

30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, religion, Uncategorized

He Calls Me Friend

“For all the promises of God find their yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Perfect and majestic Father!  How is it that you open your heavens, reach down and invite us in to your perfect world each and every minute of every day?  I don’t want to miss a chance to say “yes!” back to you when you put out your glorious hand to me.  Holy Spirit, I RSVP today to you, “Yes and Amen!”

A few weeks ago, my church was studying Proverbs 27 and the theme of friendship which runs throughout it.  It hit me how God is always inviting us into relationships that mirror what He wants with us.  Jesus, himself, changed the status of His relationship with the disciples in John 15:15 when he said, “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends.”

The role that Jesus plays in the work of the Trinity allows us to create a personal relationship with the most holy of all holies – God almighty.  In fact, a few of my friends who have spent years in Christian denominations where fearing God the Father is placed higher than other parts of the Trinity, recently discovered that it’s this close, personal friendship with the Lord that has brought them farther along in their sanctification.

God knows the value of friendships.  He has defined what a healthy, beautiful friendship is through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus provided gentle honesty, selfless attentiveness, stubborn loyalty, and intentional pursuit.  He didn’t overlook sin and He didn’t call out sin without love.   He doesn’t lie to us or betray us.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Jesus didn’t meet a couple of guys, sit around having a beer listening to their woes and their sins then sign off for the day with a “see ya!”  He invested.  He pursued.  He sharpened.  Isn’t it amazing that God wants this type of relationship with little ‘ole us?

The sermon that day about friendship featured a pin drop moment.  The pastor said, “Me and Jesus, it isn’t enough.”  The crowd was silent.  We’ve always heard that’s all we need, right?  But we were made to be loved and to love.  We were made to be in communion with other believers; to be friends, loyal, intentional and wise.  We know that because it’s what God wants with us and models for us.

Friend, today ask the Holy Spirit to put someone on your heart to reach out to.  Someone that you need to make an effort to get to know.  Let’s honor and glorify God by making a new friend to whom we can sharpen and they will sharpen us, in His name.

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, religion, Uncategorized

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Lessons from Cherith

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21

He’d been a drug addict and alcoholic for at least the 35 years I knew him.  In fact, this lost uncle was my husband’s main reason for why he never touched drugs in his college days.  My husband saw the path of destruction his uncle created throughout their family.  This uncle, my mother-in-law’s youngest sibling, took the road so many addicts follow.  They demand help, make others feel guilty for not rescuing them, promise to do better then start the cycle over and over again.

In my visits to my husband’s hometown, we’d have infrequent contact with his uncle.  But we would hear of his begging his own mother for money and complaining of how “lucky” and “privileged” everyone else in the family were because they weren’t always so down on their luck.  To be fair, this man bore the brunt of being the youngest child of an alcoholic philanderer.  As for my in-laws, they gave money, moral support, food, and more for much of his life.  But after a number of run-ins with the law and intolerable behavior toward my husband’s grandmother, the uncle found himself eventually with backs turned.  Enough was enough.

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

Let’s face it, we are only human.  We get our feelings hurt.  We often seek to protect ourselves from harmful relationships.  We don’t want to be taken advantage of and have our kindness thrown back at us with vitriol.  Like many of Jesus’ expectations of us the concept of forgiveness is not so easy for us sinful humans.  We get to the end of our rope.  We have no more tears to shed.  

I remember when my loving, caring mother-in-law said to me one day a few years ago, “I’m done.  I’m tired of being blamed for his problems.  I’m tired of being taken for granted that we will always help.  I’m angry how he treats our mother.”  And really, could anyone fault her?  But the thing is, I knew deep down she didn’t mean any of it.  I knew if her brother came again with hat in hand she would help.  Because she knew that Jesus would do the same for her.

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:28

We can be thankful we haven’t been assigned the task of God’s prophets to administer final judgements like Elijah had to (although one day two of us will be called to do just that). In the Old Testament, we see time after time the people turning their backs on God after so many warnings. And he sent his prophets to speak truth and judgement. His final truth-speaker was His Son, Jesus. But this prophet came to tell us when we seek forgiveness and to forgive we receive eternal forgiveness from God, even when we mess up over and over. You see, Jesus doesn’t just want the one who needs forgiveness healed, he wants us, the forgiver to be healed.  Because when we place our own lives under God’s microscope, we each have a heck of a lot that needs forgiving.  We each are blessed with the incredible gift of coming with our own hat in hand to the Lord and asking, “One more time, please Lord.  Forgive me.” And He does.  

I’ve been fortunate to witness the healing power of forgiveness in a few people’s lives.  My friend Andrea will forever be changed simply by forgiving a family member for past hurts and asking for forgiveness for how she has hurt others.  My own relationship with my parents has required me to forgive them.  And although the situation can still be painful, I now have the healing strength which forgiveness affords to help me pray for them each day.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

I started this message about a man so broken from addiction.  A man who most would say was without hope, without the peace from God.  But God is a miracle worker as we all know.  So, after another stint in prison about a year ago, my husband’s uncle finally said, “Enough is enough.”  He turned to God for forgiveness and healing.  When he got the news that his oldest sister was now riddled with cancer he came immediately to be by her side.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have the same opportunity to watch such a beautiful miracle unfold before my eyes.  To see God’s hands work like no other.  To experience the full promise of God’s grace and love descend upon a room.  We met in the lobby of the hospital, just the uncle and I.  His mind and eyes were clear. He looked so healthy!  His demeanor was clearly different.  I took him up to his sister’s room and we sat and chatted.  I felt like I should leave the room and give them some alone time when suddenly he took her by the hand and with tears streaming down his face he asked for forgiveness.  He asked to be forgiven for the destruction he caused, the pain, and for all the lost years that could’ve been different.

My mother-in-law thanked him immediately.  She said, “I needed to hear this.  It hurt so much when you blamed me for your troubles.”  And they wept.  For the next two weeks I witnessed this man stand guard outside her room, praying and participating in her last days.  I listened as he asked the rest of the family for forgiveness.  And saw them weep from the healing love of God.  I watched as he helped lift his sister’s lifeless body onto the gurney for her final road toward home.  He was in pain but was healed.  He was washed in sorrow but cleansed from forgiveness.  And he knew he was loved.

Who do you need to forgive right now?

Who do you need to ask for forgiveness?  

It’s time for healing.

PS: Happy Birthday to my amazing, handsome, loving, forgiving husband 🙂

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

New Beginnings

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2

Before Christmas I was listening to an episode of White Horse Inn, a podcast by reformed theologians and pastors.  The episode, titled O’ Holy Night, focused on the beauty and glory of what happened that first Christmas night.  They started by explaining how Mary was, in effect, barren, empty.  God used her barrenness like He did the universe to create something new, something out of nothing.  It was the reason a virgin was selected to show how God is the great Creator.  

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Luke 1:34-35

Each time I hear or read of a connection that weaves through the Bible from the beginning to the middle and to the end I find myself having an “ah, ha moment.”  Barring heading off to theology school and learning about all these connections in a short time span,  I hope to keep hearing about the Grand Story and all its connectedness throughout my days.  It’s like coming upon a complete sand dollar at the beach or a beautiful, out of place flower in an otherwise barren landscape.  You, at first can’t believe your eyes; then you stoop down to look closer.  And then you pop up looking around to tell someone – because it might not be true unless you can verify it.   You want to share the moment, the beauty, the awesomeness of it all.  Meanwhile others pass by seemingly uninterested or unseeing.

About a month ago I had the opportunity to attend a weekend workshop by Nancy Guthrie on biblical theology.  For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s taking a theme found in the Bible and tracing its path from Creation to Consummation (typically Revelation).  It helps us to see the Grand Story of God and all the tiny threads that create one massive character profile of our Creator.  And how all stories lead us to Jesus.

I decided for this next series to take up the challenge Mrs. Guthrie gave us that weekend.  To start looking at chapters in this thousands-year old story as one through various themes.  And who could resist starting the new year with the theme of New Beginnings?  

We live out our own lives through a long series of new beginnings.  From the creation of our very being to our entry into society and from there taking on new challenges whether school or jobs, a marriage or even a marriage to the church we look toward tomorrow for that new step.  

If we are blessed to live a long life, we will find ourselves with new beginnings in our families and as we reach retirement.  And for some, new beginnings may be what it takes to remove ourselves from addiction, abusive relationships, broken marriages, and even criminal behavior.

In the next few months, we will walk through a number of new beginnings found in the Bible.  Beginnings, like Noah that needed just one small family to see the entire Earth be reborn.  Beginnings like Rahab’s that started out of selfish need and God turned to good.  And beginnings like Jonah who ran as fast as he could from starting new but God, when He selects you for change won’t let go.  And quiet new beginnings like that of Onesimus who sits in the background of the letter by Paul to Philemon.

We will see how the character of God shows up each time – from beginning to middle and end.  How He keeps His promise to never leave us, to never forsake us even when we feel so alone.  And we will see how His will is always done and it is good.

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;" Ephesians 4:22-23

My friend, you might be right on the cusp of a new beginning.  It might look terrifying.  It might look exciting.  You might not even realize it at all until you are in the thick of it.  Some of you are longing for a new beginning.  I can promise you this, God’s plan is at work.   He’s right there watching and guiding.  So as this new year begins let’s say a prayer to the Creator.  To help us hear and see what new things He wants of us.  And what old things He wants cast off.  He has a story to tell with you.  Let’s help Him publish it for all the world to see.

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

Fiery Trials

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12

There’s a famous line in the movie Animal House, “Thank you, Sir!  May I have another!” which the college students must say as they receive a paddling in order to become members of the fraternity house.  This scene always comes to mind when I read about the trials and tribulations we most certainly will face as followers of Jesus.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

James especially brings this message home – not only will we endure trials but we should enjoy them!  Of all the lessons and directives in the Bible I think I find this one of the most difficult.  In my more “infant” Christian stage it could take me months or years to see the blessings from a fiery trial.  But as I have progressed in my faith journey I’m working to shorten that time span.  My goal? To be in the moment of trials asking God to show me the lesson and blessing.  And not only that, to try and be a blessing to others while things aren’t going so well for me.

The dark moments of our life will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us.  

Charles Stanley, 30 Life Principles

I  don’t know about you but I’m taking this to heart these days.  I want to accept the lesson as quickly as possible.  And while I’m not begging for trials, I know for certain they will come.  I’m so thankful He has given us opportunities to improve our hearts and minds, our relationships with other people, and with the Creator Himself.  I heard Joyce Meyer say the other day, “When we are in the midst of a trial we get thrown at God.”  And I’m thankful when we are thrown into the midst of the fire He is right there reaching for us.

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

A Plan for Us

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d get married.  Partially because I just wasn’t raised thinking about marriage and partially because I was the product of a marriage based on very little respect for each other.  For many years, God allowed me to live my life in sexual sin.  I went from one man to another, sometimes only passing through in the night.  But God always has a plan for each and every one of us.  For me, that plan included being given the gift of a wonderful husband. 

In our early years, my husband and I weren’t faithful followers of Jesus.  But he, at least, had a Christian background from which to draw.  When I look back over our first 10 years of marriage I can see where I am grateful for that tension of knowing some of what God expected from us as a couple.  I say “tension” because whenever we live outside of God’s narrow path we can either 1) live like we don’t have a clue that what we are doing is ungodly or 2) have some concept of ungodliness which can then pull us into learning more.  We will be judged in the end so I’d rather not be oblivious to my sins and take the opportunity to work on them!

In our marriage we struggled for control.  Control of who would be the head of our household.  Control of our finances.  Control over long term decisions for our family.  Over discipline of our kids.  Over our time management.    Looking back, I was only doing what I had learned in my family home.  A weak father figure gives way to a power vacuum.  On the other hand, my husband came from a strong, godly father-led family.  And so the back and forth went on and on.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”  Genesis 3:2-3

There’s a lot of talk in feminist circles and the media about the “patriarchy” and how men shouldn’t “keep women down.”  But from the beginning God had a very clear plan for women and men.  Women were to be the “helpers,” assisting their Adams to be the best men they could be.  Like a good golf caddy, this is no job to take lightly.  Yet we arrive at Genesis 3 and Eve immediately forgoes her heavenly role.  Instead of seeking wisdom from her husband she is drawn to the words of the serpent.  The fleshly desires pull her farther and farther away from God’s plan. 

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12

And the result?  As you can read above the entire plan is turned upside down.  Eve takes the lead and Adam falls into a weak position of blame.  Eve is punished by God for her role in the Great Fall with painful childbirth and the knowledge that men will rule over her.  But when you read the punishment of Adam, he receives a harsh future that effects every area of his life.  

I have to be honest and say that every marriage I have been around that was in serious trouble was a direct result of this upside down relationship.  That’s not to say there aren’t men who disobey God’s command to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25).  But so often in our modern world and as a result of the feminist movement which started in the 70s, women have jostled or demanded control in their relationships. Like all actions that go against God’s holy plan we see the results with weak husbands and overbearing wives.  And wives who underneath it all desire a man to stand up for them, to take charge, to love them to the point of sacrifice.  

Women of God, the idea of submitting to our husbands or future husbands does not mean we are second class citizens.  You’ll notice in Genesis 3:16 Eve’s punishment was to have men rule over her.  Therefore, it wasn’t God’s plan for men to “rule” over her in the first place.  Thankfully Jesus came to give us a new covenant, reminding us that although there is still a hierarchy of responsibility, every person is of equal value. A helper doesn’t mean you are less than the one being helped.  It’s taken me awhile to truly understand this.  What it means is we trust God’s plan.  And if we have chosen wisely, we trust our husbands who also trust God.  We trust them to take care of the family business.  We trust they will have our best interest in mind.  We trust they love us so much they want us to be content. 

If our husbands are not trustworthy in those areas or men of faith, who are we to blame?

He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 1 Kings 11:3

King Solomon was considered one of the wisest men of all time.  Yet it was his wives that managed to turn him away from God, to lead him astray.  Our role as our husband’s life caddy is so important that we can’t let what the world says about feminism and submission sway us from following God’s plan.  A good and godly wife holds so much sway over her husband.  And the world laughs at us thinking a bigger paycheck or fancy job title is what’s most important.  Our work in helping our husbands will take us a lifetime — much of the time simply modeling godly behavior, control over our emotions, showing love, showing faith in the Almighty and our men.

Eve’s veering from God’s plan, leading her husband to a great sin, can make me so angry at times.  But then I think about the times I placed myself above my husband and ask for mercy.  It took a lot of intentional work on my part to step back and encourage and teach my husband how to place himself at the head of our family.  He didn’t think I needed him, ever.  

Friends, whether you are a husband, wife, or not yet married we must stand resolutely against how the world wants to define marriage.  We can’t let the world define what “submission” looks like in God’s world.  His great plan for man and woman, joined together in harmony is just the example for what is the final plan.  The ultimate marriage between Jesus and His bride will be full of love, joy, beauty and compassion.  Let’s start today with making those fruits part of our earthly marriages.

30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

Change Maker

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Like everyone else on this blue planet I’ve had my share of relationship problems.  From friends to family and love relationships to work ones I’ve had my share of angry words and uncomfortable silences.  In the past, I would rush in to trying to solve whatever problem had arisen.  I couldn’t allow a quiet, cooling down period.  I needed to work out the disagreement right now.  I tried using my own solutions –whether it meant apologizing, arguing my point, denigrating myself, or even pretending nothing happened.

When I finally started taking my most important relationship seriously all that changed.  When I placed God above everything in my life it helped to prioritize all my other relationships.  It also meant I turned to God in seeking solutions to interpersonal interactions. 

I recently have been turning to God about a friendship that has had its ups and downs.  Instead of fretting over it and attacking it with my old gusto, I’ve given it over to the Almighty.  I’m asking Him to let me know when to speak and when to stay silent.  When to apologize and when to stand firm.  And I have found His solutions to be so different than ones I would’ve dreamed up. His solutions have love for others first and foremost.

Today I praise God for being a change maker.  For taking us broken, imperfect beings and turning our lives upside down.  When I started taking Him seriously, He started making some serious changes in me.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:7-10

Besides the amazing gift of salvation, the promise that we are changed is quite possibly one of the greatest “selling points” of believing in Jesus Christ.  My old way of doing things?  It caused me a lot of heartache, despair, worry, and loneliness.  And when we truly accept that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior we can’t help but be changed. We need to embrace it, ask for more of it, and look in anticipation for it!

Recently, after an interaction with a difficult person, I drove home praising God and giving Him all the glory.  I said, “Thank God you have changed me Lord!  Thank God I’m not the person I used to be!” Instead of angry, unattractive thoughts, I could only think of how good God is and how much He loves me.

I’m still working on my relationship with our amazing Triune God.  But I know that when I get that right I can look forward to getting a lot of other things right.  There’s so much that still needs to be changed in me and I know Jesus is the just the man for the job.