Mission Statement

The primary purpose of this blog is to help Christian women apply the counsel of God's Word to their daily lives as it relates to their relationships, circumstances, suffering and sin; and to equip them to help others do the same. "For the Word of God is living and active." Hebrews 4:12

Monday, August 30, 2010

Training Ladies-It's Hard Work!

 I have had the privilege of encouraging a newly married wife on how to control her emotional (and often sinful) actions and reactions to her husband. I was struck by her sincere desire to change and the frustration she felt over the futile results. I asked how she was tackling the problem. Through tear-filled eyes, she told me that she prayed everyday for God to grant her self-control. However, by the end of the day she had failed yet again. I told her while prayer was the starting and ending point of all of her efforts, it was in no way the only resource God had put at her disposal for change. In fact, I asked her what would happen if I decided to run the Montgomery half-marathon in October and all I did to prepare was pray! I can tell you, I would pass out! Running that marathon will require regular physical training. It will cost time, energy, emotion, and I will often have to fight against my feelings to persevere. I will need a training plan, accountability, and the right equipment. There would be good days and bad days in my training regime, but if I intended to run it I would have to train for it. What is true in the physical realm is also true in the spiritual realm: "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:8). I am not minimizing the power of prayer, but as Christians we must recognize the work God has given us to do in the sanctification process. How did I encourage my friend to "train" in righteousness? The same way I encourage anyone needing a spiritual help: Pray and Work!

1. Have consistent time in the Word. Her ability to respect her husband and control her emotions is directly related to her intake of God's Word. She needs to give the Holy Spirit what He needs to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in her life.
2. Memorize relevant passages of Scripture. The Word will enable her to transform her mind through daily renewal. She will be able to take her thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ when her thoughts are His. This is also an excellent way to ensure she is praying according to God's will!
3. Journaling. I cannot overstate the importance of writing down struggles for the sake of working through them biblically.Change takes thought and time to "put off" old patterns of thinking and "put on" new ones. Journaling is the most effective tool I have seen to bring about change and to allow others to help and hold you accountable to change. Here are the initial questions I asked my friend to write down.
a. What were the circumstances that led to my (fill in the blank with an emotion like anger, disappointment, frustration,etc.)?
b. What did I say to myself when I became (_______)? This is very important! She must write it down just as she is thinking it each time. Put it in quotations! Don't cheat.
c. How does God want me to think about this circumstance? What is true about my circumstance and what is the TRUTH of God's Word concerning my situation? She must use Bible verses and pull from wisdom, knowledge and understanding about herself, her husband, and God.
4. Accountability. My friend needs to have several women who will pray for her and with her and help her love God and her husband the way the Bible prescribes. She needs other committed people who will help her sort through the distortion of her thinking. We all struggle with seeing ourselves accurately. The Body of Christ is meant to help us have a correct view and to help us change incorrect views.

These are foundational principles for "training in righteousness". What about you? Where are you struggling? Have you been content to ask God to do for you what He intends for you to do yourself (in His strength and with His wisdom)? If you are caught in any sinful pattern, don't stay spiritually unfit-start your work out now!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Song is in Your Heart?

Quick video. Great message! Enoy.

Spiritual Dryness

Do you ever get into a "spiritual slump"? That's where I have been living the past few weeks. I have not had good time in the Word. My prayer life has been sporadic. My thoughts have felt disjointed. I have been distracted in corporate worship. I have been unmotivated to spiritual disciplines. It's not that my love for God has waned; I am just in a "funk". Can you relate?

What do you do when your spiritual life feels like a desert? First of all, you need to examine the factors that might be contributing to the problem.

• Busyness. If you are being "Martha" doing too many things, you can be too exhausted to do the one most needful thing. Even the good can become the enemy of the best! Your output cannot exceed your input if you are going to be effective for Christ. Is your schedule so packed that you are too tired to spend time with Jesus?

• Misplaced Priorities. Perhaps you are not too busy but you have just allowed other things, even good things, to take the place of time with the Savior. Is spending time with the Lord through time in the Word and prayer a priority in your day?

• Failure to Plan. Currently, I am struggling with what to study. I completed the 1 John study this summer and I don't have a new plan. I find if I do not have a plan for Bible study; it is much easier to neglect it. Do you have a plan for spending time in the Word? If not, go ahead and pick a book of the Bible to read through or perhaps you have an old devotional you can dust off and use. Don't be stagnant, stay active. In the process, you can pray and search for a study.

• Laziness. Sometimes a lack of time with God just comes down to sheer laziness! You don't feel like it. You need to enlist accountability when you find yourself unmotivated and giving into your feelings. Any relationship takes time and energy to make the investment. Could your dryness be a by-product of laziness?

• Unconfessed or Habitual Sin. If you are stuck in a sin, you will be tempted to run from God instead of to Him. Evaluate your life and ask the Lord to reveal unconfessed sin. Deal seriously with patterns of sin in your life. Do you have unconfessed sin? Are you enslaved to some sin that keeps you discouraged? Fly to Jesus!

• Fatigue. Sickness. Hormones. There is no doubt that physical factors can contribute to spiritual dryness. You should do what you can to take care of yourself physically. Are you exhausted? Are you dealing with a chronic sickness? Are you hormonal? Don't allow these reasons to become excuses to stay out of the Word. In times of suffering and weakness, you need the Lord the most.

• Depression/Discouragment. It is often most difficult to seek the Lord when you are down. If you are emotionally depleted, you need God but it can seem overwhelming to spend time in the Word. Commit to bite size pieces. Are you down? Don't give up or give in, dig deeper!

I am taking time this week to evaluate my spiritual dryness in light of the reasons above. In the meantime, I am jumping back in with both feet. My biggest enemy is my feelings. Even sitting down to write this blog was taxing, but I did it and I am glad! Here is my battle plan:

1. Pick a devotional to begin today.
2. Choose a passage to being memorizing.
3. Download some praise music to my ipod.
4. Download a sermon or two to listen to as I exercise this week.
5. Meet with a friend for encouragement and accountability.
6. Be consistent regardless of my feelings. Don’t allow the lack of feelings to discourage me. Press on!

I realize the Christian life is not always a “spiritual high” and I am not seeking to be emotionally driven. However, I want to love the Lord with all of me-my mind, emotions, and my body! I know He wants this too. I am confident that the Lord will return to me the zeal I desire as I commit to seek Him and continue to walk in His ways.

Point to Ponder and Post:
1. What reasons do you see contribute to spiritual dryness?
2. What do you do to overcome times of spiritual dryness?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Do You Show Respect?

I would love some feedback on how you have learned to respect your husband? What have been your struggles and how have you overcome them? How have you discovered your husband's particular desires for respect? How have you accomodated him? What benefits have you seen from respect and disrespect? Let's spur eachother on!

PS...If you post as "anonymous"...well then you will be anonymous! That means no one will know who you are:)