Are you too wise?

Most of the time, being a woman of wisdom is an excellent attribute.  You may have been blessed with the ability to make smart financial decisions or relationships decisions.  That’s awesome!

But human wisdom is not the highest goal, and it can sometimes lead us astray from God’s perfect plan in our lives.  Think of Noah, for instance.  According to human wisdom, he must have been viewed as an idiot!  Wisdom would tell him there was no need to build an ark. It was utter foolishness.  Many “wise” people of his community must have mocked him and probably shook their heads in disbelief. Some were probably aghast at his “foolishness”.  But Noah decided to go against conventional wisdom and follow the promptings of the Lord.  It’s a good thing he did!

Listen to what 1 Corinthians 2:14 says:  The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

What I’m trying to say is this.  Don’t put God in a box.  He often operates outside the box and colors outside the lines!  In Isaiah 55:9, God says:  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  I have known women who were told by wise counselors to leave their unfaithful husbands and yet, some of these women heard God tell them to stick with their marriage, and in the long run, their marriage was restored.  I, personally, have experienced God telling me and my husband to do “unwise” financial things in order to carry on full-time ministry, and yet God rewarded our obedience to his “outside of the box” instructions!

So, consult God.  Ask Him for direction when you are at a crossroads.  Get quiet before Him and ask Him to speak guidance to your spirit.  Wise counselors are fine, but God has the ultimate wisdom, and He alone can see what lies ahead.  God says this in Isaiah 48:17, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Don’t be so wise that you forget to consult God and follow his perfect guidance!

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How to bounce back

Almost every wife will eventually encounter a tough time in her marriage.  We’re all going to experience heartbreak and challenge in our lives in general.  The question is this.  Why are some people able to bounce back from adversity relatively quickly, and why do others seem to remain stuck?

At the risk of you hating me 🙂 …I’ll be honest and let you know that I tend to be very resilient.  After an initial period of shock and grief, I’m usually able to quickly pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward.  After pondering this ability with God, allow me share a 3-word insight that might help you become more resilient too.

I trust God.  Period. Three little words that mean everything!  I have decided to believe that God is in control and that His ways are perfect.  I have decided to believe that God can and will bring something good out of my hardship.  This is what we learn at the end of Joseph’s painful story in Genesis, where Joseph proclaims in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...”   I also take heart from Romans 8:28, where God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I can bounce back because I trust God and because He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Do you truly trust God?  It’s a decision you get to make, and it makes all the difference.

Powerful prayer starts with this

Do you ever feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?  Do your prayers seem ineffective?  Well, could it be that you’ve fallen into a very common pattern of simply using your prayers to tell God what to do, when to do it, and how to do everything?!  Hah!  I know I’ve fallen into that pattern more times than I care to admit.

The truth is that God doesn’t need us to explain to Him what to do.  If we’re being honest, we can acknowledge that we don’t always know the best thing to do.  But Jesus does know!  So maybe we should ask Him!

Here’s a mind-blowing fact.  Jesus is actually praying (interceding) to the Father for YOU right now!  Romans 8:34 says “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Another huge truth from the Bible is that our heavenly Father answer the prayers of people who are praying in line with His will.  1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Put these two truths together and it becomes clear that the key to powerful prayer is to ask Jesus how He is praying for us or the challenge we’re worried about, and then to pray in alignment with Him.  When we start prayer that way, we know we are praying according to God’s will, and God answers those prayers! 

If you’re wondering how to know what Jesus is praying, simply ask Him to tell you and then await a gentle nudge of your spirit….a quiet whisper to your heart….a word downloaded into your mind.  Jesus says this in John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice….  So ask Him how he’s praying, await his direction, and then join him in that prayer.  How powerful!!

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5 verses to help you be bold!

If you are a follower of Jesus, I’m sure you are so very grateful for his presence in your life and for the sacrifice He made so that you can be guaranteed a forever life in paradise with God.  But don’t you want other people in your life to find the same rich relationship and promise for the future that you have discovered?  You probably do, but aren’t quite sure how to share the Gospel message with relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  Maybe you shrink back due to fear of what others will think.  Perhaps you need help in becoming more confident and bold.

Allow me to share 5 Bible verses that can be somewhat of a guide as you consider sharing the Gospel message with others.

  1.  Ask God to show you who you are supposed to talk to about Jesus and invite to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  God may be assigning you that job, or perhaps God has appointed someone else to be the person.  So ask God!  Psalm 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
  2.  Ask God to show you the right time to present the Gospel.  Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
  3. Ask God to give you confidence and boldness instead of fearing the person’s reaction!  Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…
  4.  Study Bible verses that reveal the path to salvation, and also equip yourself with Bible verses that may address any objections or questions that person raises.  2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
  5. In the end, rely on the Holy Spirit to give you the exact words to say to that specific person.  Luke 21:14-15 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

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How to feel God’s comfort

We all inevitably go through stretches in our marriages (or with kids, finances, health, etc!) that are pretty rough on our hearts.  Yes, we can persevere, pray, and trust in God during those times, and all those things are super important.  But sometimes, we just plain need comfort.  We need to sit in the lap of our heavenly father and have Him hold us tight.

Here is what I have discovered.  Reading the Psalms slowly and out loud is like a warm embrace from my heavenly Father.  As those words roll off my lips, I can almost feel His love and compassion flow over me.  I sense the tenderness of His heart toward me.  I gain hope once again.

Try it for yourself.  I would suggest some of these Psalms:  Psalm 103, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, and Psalm 37.   God longs to comfort you.  He loves you.  As Psalm 103 says, “Our Father is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.

The power of pausing during prayer

When we face a challenge, a dilemma, or even a crisis…we tend to search high and low for the easy answer.   We cry out to God, asking him to give us the magic pill that will make it all go away!  We call our mom or our girlfriends, and we whine and complain about the problem, hoping they will have the magical, painless answer to our situation.  Well, here’s the thing.  The answer isn’t easy, but it is simple.  Seek God’s counsel and then actually pause to listen. 

Proverbs 18:13 says “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.”  Yet, that is exactly what many of us do.  We complain to God.  We pray that he would magically fix our situation in the way that WE say is best, and yet, we don’t actually consult the Bible to see what guidance he has for us.  We pray that God would tell us what to do about the problem, yet we don’t actually pause to listen for the Holy Spirit’s quiet whisper of guidance.

The answer is simple.  Dive into God’s Word.  It will guide you.  Psalm 119:105 says. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”   Ask God to give you direction through a quiet whisper to your spirit from the Holy Spirit, who is our counselor.  John 14:26 says (in the Amplified Bible), “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things.”

Finding true comfort during distress

All wives inevitably hit a rough patch or two in their marriage.  In fact, there will likely be moments when you think “Why did I even marry this man?!”  He may break a little piece of your heart when he forgets your anniversary, or is overly harsh with the kids, or develops a habit of satisfying himself while viewing pornography instead of making love to you.  At these moments, you need comfort for your broken heart.

It’s our tendency to reach for something easy and tangible as a source of comfort.  You might try to find some joy in buying lots of new clothes. YouI might turn to excessive food.  But neither one of those choices truly comforts us.  They actually lead to additional grief in the long run!  Instead, we need to train ourselves to run to God at those heart-breaking moments.  He is waiting with open arms.  Plus, Jesus knows what it feels like to suffer grief, betrayal, and a broken heart.

I love these two verses of comfort.  Psalm 103:2-4 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  And Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.  Meditate on those 2 verses and ask God to come close to you.  He will, and I believe you will experience the warmth of his love! 

One additional tip:  I’ve found it especially helpful to find a quiet place of solitude (no cell phone, no noise!) where I can just sit with the Lord in stillness for 5 or 10 minutes, letting his peace and comfort wash over me.

If husband isn’t following Christ

Being married to an unbeliever can be frustrating and discouraging.  You’re pulling one way.  He’s pulling another.  You make decisions based on your faith and trust in God.  He thinks only of himself. Ugh.

There is hope, but your situation may not change overnight.  The key is persistent prayer. One wife, whom I know quite well, prayed earnestly for about 15 years before her husband finally came to Christ.  It was discouraging at times, but she kept believing that God would answer her prayer, and He did.  It just took time (15 years!) for God to soften her husband’s heart.

May I suggest that you pray Ezekiel 36:26-27 every day for your husband, inserting his name in the verse?  The verse talks about God turning a heart of stone into a heart of flesh.  In other words, God can soften hard hearts!  Here is how you might want to pray this verse:  “Jesus, give (insert your husband’s name) a new heart and put a new spirit in him. Jesus, remove (insert name)’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh.  Jesus, put your Spirit in (insert name) and move him to follow your decrees and be careful to keep your laws.”

Also, to encourage yourself to keep diligently praying and trusting God, you may want to read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18.

Feeling alone in your struggle

We’re all struggling with something.  It could be your marriage or your kids or your finances or your health or the political divisiveness that is separating longtime friends!  Often when we’re in the middle of a big challenge, we can feel very alone, even if we’re surrounded by people.  It seems like no one really understands what we’re going through.  We feel all alone in the battle.

But we’re not alone!  And this is not just a Christian bumper sticker or a warm and fuzzy saying on a Christian greeting card.  As some of you know, I recently lost my husband to illness.  He was the love of my life, my companion, my best friend, my encourager, my partner in ministry, and so much more.  Talk about feeling alone when he departed this earth!

For several months, I grieved, and that is totally appropriate and necessary.  That grief turned even more heavy when I realized I was all alone.  I might have family and friends, but I had lost my constant companion and best friend and partner in life.  But then I sensed God bringing to mind some of Jesus’ final words to his disciples.  In Matthew 28:20 he told his disciples something HUGE!  “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  

God was reminding me that Jesus is truly with me…every day…in every struggle…during my reflective morning coffee time to my search for guidance during the middle of a struggle.  He is my constant companion.   I’m finding that in the middle of a challenge, the question has changed from “What should I do?”  to “What should WE do, Jesus?”   I’m even inviting Jesus to join me during mundane tasks and grocery shopping and an afternoon walk.  He is always with me.  I’m not alone.  Is it time to invite Jesus to be your constant companion?

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How to receive God’s guidance

We all want to receive guidance from the Lord. You may need to make a decision in your marriage or with your children or regarding your work situation, and you wonder which way to go.  Well, the good news is that God promises to guide us!  Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to access his counsel!

Here are two primary ways to access his wisdom and his counsel.  The first is….spending time reading His Word.  Duh.  But how many times do we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or energy to spend much time reading the Bible?  Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and DECIDE to make Bible reading a priority in your life.  I bet you make time to brush your teeth and take a shower, so why can’t you carve out 15 minutes for reading the Bible every morning?  😊  Reading the Bible will give you direct guidance on so many decisions you’ll need to make throughout any given day.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Next, spend time worshipping God and in “listening prayer”.  When we worship God, he draws near, and he longs to whisper to us through His Holy Spirit if we will strain to listen for that whisper to our souls.  1 Kings 19:12 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  So try this.  Put on some worship music, or start singing a worship song. As you praise Him, close your eyes and envision God with you.  Now ask Him to whisper guidance to your heart.  Strain to listen. Did he give you a vision or nudge your heart in some way?  I believe He will guide you.  Just make sure that anything you believe you hear from God does not contradict what He says in the Bible.

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