We like control. We crave control. Our first reaction when life starts to spin is find a way to fix it. Control. Manage it. Control. And when we can’t fix it, and can’t manage it, we block it out and begin to focus on what we can control in the moment (or at least, what we think we’re controlling).
I have discovered that God doesn’t just “allow” pain – he uses it, on purpose, in each and every one of us. There are some lessons that cannot be learned through ease and comfort. And there are some things we’ll never change, some sin we’ll never forsake, until God uses pain to get our attention. Therefore, pain is not just inevitable; it is necessary.
Our response to pain reveals what we truly believe about God.
[Excerpt] We just learned the importance of submission in marriage, and the responsibility a wife has to encourage, bless, and benefit her husband. But what about the exceptions, those cases where a husband is abusive, passive, or just plain ol’ dumb?
[Excerpt] Submission is a sensitive topic, especially when it comes to marriage. However, that does not mean we should avoid it. Rather, we must work hard to make sure we have a biblical understanding of submission – who we are to submit to, why we are to submit, and what that looks like.
[Excerpt] Ruth Bell Graham said, “A good marriage is made up of two good forgivers.” What is forgiveness? It’s choosing to release someone from the obligation that resulted when they hurt you. It’s about humility. It’s about laying down your rights. It’s the opposite of taking, manipulating, and controlling. It doesn’t feel good. But it is good.
It’s time to stop placing your happiness in people. Stop manipulating to get what you want. Be determined to give, bless, and encourage. Don’t look out for yourself – look out for your husband. Sound impossible? That’s what grace is for. But in order to receive God’s grace, you have to be surrendered to God’s grace.
[EXCERPT] Did you know that the average evangelical Christian spends only 3 minutes a day in prayer? And evangelical pastors spend 5. There is something very wrong with this.
I think it’s worthwhile to note that there’s a reason prayer and Bible study are called spiritual disciplines. The first is that they are the most spiritual things you can do – and prayer is THE most spiritual thing you can do. Secondly, consider the meaning of the word discipline: “training to act in accordance with rules; drill.” I think we can all agree that training and drills are challenging – and that’s the point. Our time spent in spiritual discipline is training us, equipping us, and making us strong and competent for the troubles ahead – regardless if those trouble are the daily pressures we face or a major trial that may be around the corner.
[EXCERPT] Have you heard the phrase, “Giving the devil a foothold?” It comes from Ephesians 4:27, and it’s in the context of holding on to hurt and anger. When you indulge in those things, it’s like taking your armor off while you’re at war – it’s going to kill you. And not just those sins, but any sin that you indulge, or as Romans 13:14 says, that you make provision for, opens you up to be destroyed. And the devil does not wait for you to have a vulnerability to come up with an attack – he’s already pursuing you. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert, because the devil is on the prowl, and he’s looking at us for his next meal.
I think too many people dismiss the importance of cultivating their relationship with God through personal worship simply because they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture of spiritual warfare going on in our lives on a daily basis.
[EXCERPT] How did Jesus know what to do? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know where to go? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know what to say? The Father told him.
How did Jesus know when His time was up? He had finished the work His Father gave him.
You know what we don’t see in Jesus’ example? We don’t see Jesus being reactionary to the people around him. He doesn’t do what the people ask him to; in fact, there are many times when he did the opposite. The people wanted him to stay, and he left. The people wanted him to perform miracles, and he refused. Why would he do this? Because He was getting direction from His Father. It didn’t matter what people said or did to Him, because His purpose and identity were tied to His father, not his friends, family, peers, or enemies.