You’re afraid. You’re anxious and upset. So you pray. And pray some more. But what about when your fear and anxiety are still there? Does being afraid mean your spiritual life is somehow weak? What are you doing wrong?
The connection between spirituality and fear (or no fear) is not always a simple one. As a believer you know God has an answer to your problems, so when you feel anxious or afraid you go to Him for a solution. There may be times when you feel as though He is really helping you. Your prayers seem to calm your mind or help you rest better. You’re grateful. God has come through.
At other times you may feel even worse when you pray. You start grasping at anything you can think of to try and get relief from God for how you feel. You read your Bible more, go to church more, or practice some spiritual warfare technique you’re read about. You try to get help from other believers or at a special Christian event. But it feels like a vicious cycle; the more you struggle to find God’s answer, the more upset and anxious you become.
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God must often feel like shouting, “Can you hear me now?”
People ask me quite often how to hear from God. You and I sometimes wish God would write on the wall with a burning finger (like in Daniel 5:5), or speak in an audible voice from heaven (like with Jesus in Matthew 17:5).
God does not usually add His voice to a cacophony of sound – in our heads, our churches, or our lifestyle. The many messages we allow into our minds and lives from anywhere and everywhere else make it harder to differentiate God’s voice from all the others. God speaks most frequently in a “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)
There are many books, podcasts, and other resources detailing how God speaks. He speaks through His Word, through other believers, through providence, to our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and more. Instead, I’d like to talk about how to hear from God in a very practical way. What does it look like? How do you hear from God when you face a difficult decision or an overwhelming challenge?
My Biggest God Moment
Well, it was certainly one of the biggest.
Al and I were getting to know each other. Actually, we were in love. Things were moving pretty fast, and we were thinking about spending the rest of our lives together. I expected him to soon ask me to marry him. The emotions were running high, and it felt good.
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You cry. You pray. You wonder how long you can hold on. You wrestle with guilt and loneliness. You look at other Christian couples with envy. If you’re a believer, daily life has special challenges when your spouse is not a Christian.
And whatever your spouse’s spiritual status, you also still have all the other “stuff” of married life to contend with; communication, intimacy, money, in-laws, children, etc. You may struggle with the same false beliefs about marriage, and need to be reminded of what is true about marriage.
You may be tempted to believe that other couples where both partners are Christians have it so much easier, or that if only your spouse would “become a Christian” everything would be OK. That’s not necessarily so. Some of the most heartbreaking stories I hear are from those whose Christian husband or wife abuses, betrays, or otherwise causes them extreme pain.
That said, some of your challenges may be unique. How do you deal with your spouse when they don’t share your faith? How do you balance what may feel like competing loyalties? Is it worth it to keep on praying?
Paul encouraged those whose husband or wife was not a believer to remain married if their spouse was willing. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14) God may use you to draw your spouse to Himself. (1 Corinthians 7:16)
But what practically can you do to both survive and “help” God bring your spouse into His kingdom? Here are 5 keys.
Don’t play junior Holy Spirit.
God has not given you the job of “fixing” or “saving” your spouse. That’s HIS job! No human being has a right to play Holy Spirit in anyone else’s life – not even your spouse’s. (You DO have a job though. More on that in the coming steps.) God honors your spouse’s free will, and you need to do the same.
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While this is written especially for my women readers, the principles apply wither you’re a husband or a wife.
Wouldn’t you love a New Marriage for 2017?
Have you been making some New Year’s resolutions? Or perhaps you gave that up long ago, believing that doing so just sets you up for failure and disappointment.
Either way, we’re at the beginning of a new year. Remember that God loves to do new things – even in your marriage. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
In addition to losing twenty pounds and being more consistent with reading your Bible, perhaps you’ve also decided to work on your relationship in this new year. Perhaps you’d like to:
– Be more loving and respectful to your husband
– Stop nagging and complaining so much
– Be the submissive wife the Bible says you should be
– Pray for your husband more regularly
“WOAH! Stop right there! You’ve just hit my red-button issues. You had me for a moment, but I’m not going to read any farther!”
I get it! Being “submissive” has often come to mean getting stepped on and abused. No nagging sounds like letting him get away with whatever he wants. Praying more feels like spiritualizing something that falls apart the moment your needs aren’t getting met.
Take a deep breath, girlfriend. This is not the older “be nice” kind of religious marriage advice. Nor is it the newer “be yourself” message many women have tried and find less than satisfying in the end.
I believe God has a New Marriage waiting for you. Remember, He loves creating new things!
You do want a New Marriage, don’t you?
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How do you find freedom from compulsive sexual behavior? What does it look like? What does it take to get there?
I’ve been overwhelmed by your response to my post last week about Dealing with Masturbation and Pornography as a Christian. I’ve heard from men and women all over the world who are crying out for freedom. And I’m here to tell you that God has a way out! There is a pathway to freedom! And that’s what this post is about.
This is not for you if you wonder whether what you’re doing is wrong. It’s not for you if pornography and/or masturbation is not your struggle. It’s not for you if you think maybe you should “cut down” on your consumption of compulsive sexuality.
But if the Holy Spirit has put His finger on this part of your life and said, “This right here; it needs to stop. Let Me have this!”, then this post is for you.
This is for you if you’re sick and tired of the bondage, the hiding, the shame and the guilt. It is for you if you’re ready to do whatever it takes to find freedom. It is for you if you’re ready to fight with everything in your being to experience Christ’s victory in this area of your life.
You cannot be successful in this journey by going half-way. If you’re not all in, you’ll fail. Jesus has freedom available for you, but you cannot do your own thing in one area and expect to win a battle with compulsive sexual behavior.
This means war!
So pick up your sword, get furiously angry at your bondage and the one holding you there, and get ready to do the work ahead of you. As Mel Gibson when he played William Wallace, find the scream in the bottom of your soul and cry out with all your might,
7 Steps to Freedom
Here’s what it takes to get there.
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