Catch the vision of becoming an influential wife!

God has given me a vision for Christian wives.  I see him rising up an army of strong but gentle wives who do specific things in such a focused and powerful way that their husbands are propelled to become mighty men of God!  Don’t we all want that?

The qualities of these strong Christian wives are all Biblical, and if we press into them, I’m confident we will have a tremendous, positive impact on our men!  As we encourage and pray for our men, our men will be much more likely to step up and become mighty men of God.  Hallelujah!

The most important thing we can do is to respect, honor and love the Lord.  But beyond that, catch this vision of the wife God is calling you to become.  He is calling wives to be…

  • encouraging (1 Thessalonians 5:11…encourage one another and build each other up)
  • respectful (Ephesians 5:33….the wife must respect her husband)
  • gentle (1 Peter 3:4 …the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight )
  • compassionate (Colossians 3:12 …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience)
  • courageous (Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)
  • loving but firm confronters of sin (Luke 17:3 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him)
  • prayer warriors (Colossians 4:2… Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful)

Bringing out the best in your husband

Our words are SO powerful!  If you frequently tell your husband how he’s falling short, he will likely close down emotionally and search for an escape door.  He may turn to alcohol, porn, excessive recreational pursuits, or even other women.

However, if you choose to tell him about the good things you see in him, he will begin to grow in confidence.  I believe this is why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must respect her husband“.  Your respect and admiration means everything to your man.  If you intentionally take note of his talents as well as the effort he puts forth, and then tell him you are proud of him, his feelings of inadequacy will fall away.  He will start believing he can be successful in what he tries.  He will gain courage to try tackling even bigger things.

If you notice his positive character qualities (and every man has at least one!), and tell him how much you respect him for those qualities, he will be built up on the inside.  He will likely begin believing that he can become a man who makes a difference in his family and for God.  A wife’s words of respect and encouragement can propel her husband forward to be an even greater man than he would ever have been without her!

3 principles to avoid financial stress

So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money.   They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.

You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions!  I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages.  Allow me to summarize those principles for you.  (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).

Bible Principle 1:  Live intentionally below your means!  (Hebrews 13:5)  So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget.  They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!

Bible Principle 2:  Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life.  The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)

Bible Principle 3:  Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so!  (Malachi 3:10).  I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not.  The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!

A key to persevering during challenges

It’s inevitable.  You will eventually hit some rough patches in your marriage, and in your life in general.  So how do you hang on and press through those storms?  If your husband is caught in a pattern of sin against you, you will need to respectfully confront the problem.  If you guys just plain disagree on how to handle something, you’ll have to work for a compromise.  But when the situation in your marriage seems hopeless, or when a challenge in life feels insurmountable, that’s when we have to learn to persevere.  That’s when we must remember that God isn’t finished writing our story!

One huge key for me in terms of perseverance is reflecting on the many times in the past that God has answered my cries for help.  When I look back and take an inventory of the miracles he’s performed in my life and the times when he clearly orchestrated events…then my faith is increased.  As my faith increases, I can more easily persevere through the current crisis.  By recalling the past deeds of God in my life, I find peace knowing that He was in control then and He’s still in control now.  This is the counsel given to us in Psalm 77:11-12 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

 One of the best ways to remember the past deeds of the Lord is to write down “God-sightings” in a journal. I have a journal filled with little notes about answered prayers or “God-wink” moments where I can see that God orchestrated something amazing in my life.  I re-read these entries several times a year, and my faith is increased once again.  As my faith in God builds, I can persevere more easily during my current trial.  Do you have a “God-sighting” journal?

Leave room for the Holy Spirit to work

The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful.  My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end.  So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about his comments!  Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.

You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong.  But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer.  In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”   Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.

What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me.  I need to ask God for direction.  Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting.

Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you:  Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?

First step in resisting your “signature sin”

About 25 years ago, I heard a line in a sermon that will always stick with me.  The pastor said we all have a “signature sin”…a sin that has our name written all over it!  Do you have a signature sin or temptation?  Is there one particular thing that trips you up all the time?  Yes, that’s what I thought.  And I’m sure Satan laughs his butt off every time you and I give into that temptation.

Well, we all might have a signature sin or a specific temptation that seems insurmountable, but Satan doesn’t get the last laugh!  Jesus promises to provide a way out of every temptation.  I just need to ask Him to give me eyes to see the avenue of escape and for Him to give me the strength to turn from my old patterns and take that escape exit.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says “…God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

I’ve learned that the first step in overcoming that signature sin in my life is this: discovering the lie I’ve believed!  For me, the “way out” of temptation to eat the wrong food is uncovering the ridiculous lie I’ve believed about food.  God is showing me that I have somehow been deluded into thinking that eating a boatload of sugary treats and a ton of french fries would make me feel better!  That’s a lie.  The truth is that eating healthy will make me feel better, so that’s what I’ve been choosing to do for the last 5 years.  And you know what?  I feel great…physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Do you keep repeatedly falling into the same temptation because you’ve believed a lie?  It’s food for thought (pardon the pun!).

Top 10 Bible verses to guide wives

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Dr Phil, Oprah or Ellen Degeneres. He created us, so he probably knows how to make relationships work!  He has provided profound relationship principles in the Bible…and when wives apply these principles, amazing things happen!  Broken marriages begin to heal and mediocre marriages begin to thrive.  Here are my Top Ten Bible verses for wives, in no particular order.  As you read these verses, ask God to show you the principle he wants you to apply in your marriage:

1)  Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper suitable for him”

2)  1 Peter 3:4 tells wives to have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight”

3)  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

4)  Titus 2:4-5 “Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be self-controlled and pure”

5)  Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

6)  Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband”

7)  Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

8)  Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”

9)  1 Corinthians 7:2-3 “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

10)  Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”