God Said It, But Did He Really Mean It for Me… The Dangerous Mindset that Hinders Faith

faith, hindering faith, thinking

I just want to start by saying that I was completely overwhelmed by the response to Friday’s post, “A Call to the Noble Wife… Are You Living Up to Your Potential?”  I have been so blessed and touched that God allowed me to share a tough realization in my own life and in turn, touch so many others.  So, thank you!

Now, on to today’s post.

faith, hindering faith, thinking, God said itLast night during our lifegroup, someone said something that really made me stop and think.

He said that baby Christians tend to ride along on a “spiritual high” for a while but then when something bad happens they come crashing down.

Let me frame the conversation a bit.

We were discussing last week’s sermon from church where our Pastor was debunking a commonly accepted belief that God will never give you more than you can handle.  The gist of the sermon was that God NEVER said He wouldn’t give us more than we can handle, but He DID say “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

You can watch the entire sermon here, by clicking on week 2: God won’t give you more than you can handle.

So, I thought a lot about this idea of baby Christians riding on a “spiritual high,” and I see so much truth to it.

When I was a baby Christian (not too very long ago) I totally coasted on my own spiritual high.  I had just made the greatest decision of my life and I was soaking up every good and perfect gift that came with it.

After  a short time though, I kind of started to act invincible and looking back now I realize I had become a little jaded.  I was convinced that people who were dealing with problems in life just didn’t have enough faith and weren’t believing in God’s Word.  AWFUL, I know, but its true.

I had become wise in my own eyes and it was pretty ugly.

Then, life happened to me…

I was pregnant with our second child and the unthinkable happened.

Miscarriage.

So what did I do?  At first, I just bought into the lie that God never gives me more than I can handle so I better just deal with it, whatever that looked like.  I felt like I better just start acting like a good and happy little Christian girl and move past it.  So for me, I rationalized that there must have been something wrong with the baby and God took it away to save me from something worse.

That’s a COMPLETE LIE fed by the enemy by the way!!!  God is the giver of life; the thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

The danger of thinking like that for me was that it gave me permission to question God.

It set me up in the perfect position to always second guess what God said.  [bctt tweet=”Is toxic thinking “giving you permission” to question God? #TrustTheWord #GodsNotALiar”]

So, instead of having the kind of faith that says, “God said it so I believe it no matter what,”  I had the kind of non-faith that said, “God said it, but I’m not sure if He meant that for me…”

I began to experience challenges of every kind and then I began to think that maybe I wasn’t good enough to receive God’s promises, or maybe I just wasn’t doing the “Christian thing” right.

Well, let me tell you some good news

GOD SAID IT AND HE MEANT IT FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT ACCEPTS JESUS!!!

EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re not good enough, God is good enough.

It doesn’t matter if you think you don’t deserve it, God will pour out blessings and favor because that’s His nature.

Don’t you know you can never make yourself good enough to be accepted by God?  You are freely accepted because He is good.

That’s good news!

Thankfully, in my life, I had some very strong, mature Christians all around me who were willing to put up with my uninformed misunderstanding of God’s Word.  The Bible makes it clear that baby Christians are like infants who need to be fed “milk” for a while before they are ready for “solid food.”  The more I grow in the Lord, the more thankful I am for those people who quietly listened to me spout nonsense in the name of the Lord, and  still chose to keep feeding into my life instead of abandoning me in my immaturity.

So how do we keep young believers from falling into this dangerous trap?

Sometimes I believe it’s important for us as mature believers to show our weakness instead of putting on our “everything is great” face. We do need to stand strong in faith, believing in the goodness of God’s word and speaking it over our lives, but if we never allow others to see our struggles, how can they truly understand our growth?  After all, it’s in our weakness that He is made strong.

Paul says it best in 2 Corinthians when talking about the thorn in his flesh that he pleaded with God to have removed…

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If we never show the world our weakness, how can they see His strength?  [bctt tweet=”If we never show the world our weakness, how can they see His strength? #WhenIAmWeakThenIAmStrong”]

If we only show the world our blessings, they are missing out on understanding the faith that came before the blessing.

Faith is not for the faint of heart, it’s about believing that God’s word is right and true and acting on that truth no matter how hard.   In some cases our blessings come quickly and sometimes our blessings come only after enduring a long trial and standing firm in the faith.

When we allow those around us see us struggle and yet hold on to the promises of God, it is then that they are truly blessed by our patient endurance.

Final thoughts…

Hosea 4:6 says, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”  

Just think about that.  If those mature Christians in my life had abandoned me in my time of growth, I would have been DESTROYED from my own lack of knowledge!

Thank the Lord they hung in there with me!

If you are a baby Christian, be encouraged! I urge you to surround yourself with mature believers and always be willing to listen.  You will grow by leaps and bounds and will one day suddenly find yourself on the flip side, able to mentor other young believers.

If you are a mature Christian, then I implore you, don’t abandon those young believers in your life.  Hang in there with them, give them more grace, pray for them, pray with them, and above all, let them see you hold tightly to the truth of God’s Word while you are in the midst of the battlefield!!

“I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD:  be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart:  wait, I say, on the LORD.”  Psalm 27:13-14

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

The Day I Realized I Was A Bad Wife

Do you ever wonder how some women can make being a good wife look so easy? Well, they have a secret weapon, and now you can too!

“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

Every time I read this, I just like to assume that I fall into the noble wife category because, quite honestly, I don’t like to think of myself as “decay”.

noble wife

This particular time, though, I felt a little unsettled, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head.  I figured God must be trying to teach me something, but honestly couldn’t understand what I possibly needed to know about this particular Scripture.

I mean, I’m not a bad person, right? After all, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, I take care of four kids all day everyday.  I also homeschool them.  I cook all of the meals, clean all of the messes, do all of the laundry, and handle all of the shopping.  I volunteer, I pray, and I read my Bible…

But are those the things that God considers noble?

Well, I decided to go ahead and look into this a bit more.  So I looked it up in Webster’s Dictionary.

The word “noble” is defined as

  • having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.) 

A few other definitions are

  • possessing outstanding qualities
  • very good or excellent
  • of high birth or exalted rank

So, looking back at the Scripture with this in mind, it doesn’t really matter how much I do, what matters is the character I exhibit  

Am I going about my day-to-day life exhibiting qualities that other people admire?  Would my family say that I am “excellent” and possess “outstanding qualities”?

Well, I sure hope so.

Now, since I defined the word “noble” and wasn’t really feeling to badly about how I measured up to this Scripture, I decided to define the word “disgraceful”.  Not that I was worried…

Here’s the definition:

  • bringing or involving disgrace 

Okay, well then I guess I should look up “disgrace”.

Disgrace:  

  • to cause (someone) to feel ashamed
  • to cause (someone or something) to lose or become unworthy of respect or approval
  • to humiliate by a superior showing
  • to cause to lose favor or standing

I did not see that coming…

I almost cried when I read that definition.

I was suddenly very aware of every single time I have ever made my husband feel small, unworthy, incompetent, disrespected, belittled, and not good enough.

It was like one of those moments that people say they saw their life flash before their eyes, except what I saw was the broken look on my husband’s face…  over and over and over…

How many times have I made him feel dumb because he asks me how to spell a word?

How many times have I taken over story time with the kids because he messed it up?

How many sermons have I preached to him about how much better he should be doing?

How many times have I re-loaded the dishwasher or re-folded the towels because he did it wrong?

How many times have I blamed him when things went bad?

How many times have I nagged him to get to my never-ending “honey-do” list?

How often do I point out what he should have done?

WAY.  TOO.  MANY.

So here I am… a disgraceful wife…

I’ve been convicted of a horrible crime against my own husband

Flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone and I have grossly sinned against him

Remember that part of the Scripture that I usually avoid, “a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

Like decay in his bones!  So basically, my lack of good character has made him feel like his bones are rotting until they are completely gone.  I’ve made him feel like he is dying a slow death from the inside out!

(I know that’s a little dramatic, but it gets the point across, right?)

Does any of this resonate with you?  If so, there is hope my friends.  I have learned some valuable truth from this revelation and I would love to share it with yall.

5 Character Traits of a Noble Wife

  1. A noble wife repents when she is wrong (Acts 3:19 – “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.”) 

    • We are all going to mess up.  What’s important is admitting when we do and then deciding to turn away from this attitude of disgrace and back towards a heart that is noble.  And guess what?  If you’re a Christian, then you are a daughter of the One True King.  Nobility is in your blood!  Tap into it girl! [bctt tweet=”A wife of #NobleCharacter #repents when she is wrong.”]
  2. A noble wife seeks forgiveness  (Matthew 5:23 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.)
    • Seek forgiveness from your husband for every time you have made him feel like he is dying a slow death.
    • Seek forgiveness from God for harboring contempt against the person He united you to (whether it was intentional or not). [bctt tweet=”A wife of #NobleCharacter seeks #forgiveness.”]
  3. A noble wife submits to her husband’s authority  (1 Peter 3: 1-2 – “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”) 
    • This is not a suppressive submission.  It doesn’t come out of fear or weakness, but instead out of respect for who God has created him to be and for the position He has placed him in as the head of your family.  This is the kind of submission that honors what your husband has to say and respects his decisions.  I AM NOT advocating that a wife has no input and that all of the decisions belong to the husband.  On the contrary, husbands and wives should work together as a team, but with that said, you’re not going to agree on every single thing.  So, in situations where you can’t agree, and the decision really matters, a noble wife will follow the Biblical outline and get in line behind her husband’s leadership, trusting in God along the way.
    • Submission is not weakness!  When done in the proper way with the proper motives, it is a really great tool that shows incredible strength.  It’s not easy to lay down your own plans and ideas and take up someone else’s.  But if you do, it will bring amazing blessings as you choose to honor God by honoring your husband. [bctt tweet=”A wife of #NobleCharacter #submits to her husband’s authority.”]
  4. A noble wife knows that true beauty comes from within  (1 Peter 3: 3-4 – “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”)
    • That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look nice!  But looking pretty on the outside isn’t our ultimate goal.  God says the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth!  So let’s let Him transform our hearts and mold us into the beautiful treasures He created us to be!  That’s a beauty that is timeless and will transcend and transform generations to come.  When I’m long gone, I want my legacy to be one of wisdom, grace, and love; not just, “well, she had a pretty smile and good hair…”  [bctt tweet=”A wife of #NobleCharacter knows that #TrueBeauty comes from within”]
  5. A noble wife doesn’t sweat the small stuff (1 Peter 3:6 “like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.  You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear” and Proverbs 31:21 “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”) 
    • A woman after God’s heart puts her full and complete confidence in Him and Him alone.  Don’t seek your refuge in the world, instead run to Him, the lover of your soul, the healer of your heart, your protector, and your Savior.  There is no fear for those who seek shelter in Him because He doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but instead He gives us a spirit of POWER, LOVE, AND A SOUND MIND.  As women, we really can get so wrapped up in all of the little worries that life has to offer, and then take that worry out unnecessarily on our husbands.  But a noble wife lays all of that aside and rests in the confident hope of a good God.  Put your trust in Him to make your path straight and stop worrying about of the little bumps along the way.
    • Bumps in the road will happen, and that’s okay.  I read a really amazing article not long ago by Valerie at Cord of 6, where she talks about changing your “what ifs” into “even ifs”.  It was incredibly inspiring, and totally changed my perspective about all of those bumps (and potential bumps) in the road, trusting fully in God’s plan along the way.  You will definitely be blessed by that article, be sure to check it out!  And then remember, God has a plan.  Trust in Him.  Cast your worries and anxieties on Him, do not beat your husband with them! [bctt tweet=”A wife of #NobleCharacter doesn’t sweat the small stuff.”]

 Conviction is never easy

But it is necessary because it produces growth.

I have bared a dark part of my heart today in the hope that it will give someone the strength to rise up from the ashes and be transformed by God.

If you find that you too have been a disgraceful wife, rest assured that God will rescue you, deliver you, and transform you!


 

If you don’t know Jesus, I invite you right now to say a prayer and invite Him into your heart.  Becoming a Godly wife requires God, none of us can do it on our own.  But the great news is that He has already promised to lead and guide us through this thing called life by transforming our hearts so that we can become that beautiful treasure.  Just say this prayer to invite Him in…

“Dear God, I know that I have sinned and fallen short of your glory.  But right now, I choose to turn away from sin and turn to you.  I believe that Jesus is your Son, I believe that He died and rose again, and right now I ask Him to come into my heart, to be the Lord and Leader of my life, and my forever best friend.  Thank you God, for making me whole, for making me new.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”

If you prayed that prayer today, I would love to hear about it.  You can send in a praise report anytime using the form on the Prayer Request page.


 

 Now, dear friend, go show the world just how beautiful you are

“A wife of noble character who can find?  

She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  

Proverbs 31:10-12

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

Be sure to check out these other posts about marriage

All About Marriage:  9 Lessons Learned in 9 Years

Praying for Your Husband

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Why You Need to Disciple the Millennial Generation

college booksToday, I met a young girl on fire for God and excited about life.

We were serving together at church and she was just bubbling over with joy for the crowd of people being Baptized.  Her enthusiasm was certainly contagious.

After talking with her for a while, I discovered she is in her third year at the local university and hoping to receive an internship position at our church over the summer.  She told me that she knew she was still young, but that she just felt such a strong call to ministry.  I stood in awe of this young girl, in the midst of what I would deem as one of the most confusing and helpless times of a person’s life, she already has a clear vision of God’s calling on her life and she has plans to run after it!

I began to think back to my own college experience, a time before I ever knew Jesus.

College for me was all about self-fulfillment and self-discovery.  My problem was, no matter what I did, I never found my fulfillment and never discovered me.  College students really do have life thrown at them from every possible direction.  Anything and everything is readily available to these vulnerable young adults eager to feel established in a grown up world.

 

Having the world at your doorstep isn’t really as great as it may seem when you don’t have a clear vision of your future.  When you’ve got a hundred different decisions to make every day, but no reasoning behind why you make them, then how do you really know why you do the things you do?  “Try this, don’t try that, do this, don’t do that, go here, stay away from there, say this, do that, wear these, read this, buy that, apply for this, date him, don’t date her, take this class, work for that company, live here, drive this,” and the list goes on and on.  It’s no wonder college can be such a confusing time.

I made countless decisions during my college years that had no rhyme or reason, and in the end, added no value to the life God wanted me to pursue.  I  wonder if my experience was really that much different from those of most other people?  But wouldn’t it be great if there were more young people like the friend I made today who have trusted their lives and their futures to God?  What would the world be like if we, as believers, spent more time equipping these young go-getters, eager to live life, to go out into the world and experience the abundant life that God has promised them?  How many more lives would be impacted and how much farther could God’s kingdom reach if we spent time helping these young people get on the right track right from the start?

Lives could be impacted in amazing ways if we just step up and take the time to disciple these young adults.  By sharing some life lessons and helping them understand how  to find and pursue God’s vision for their lives at a young age we could create such a huge movement for God’s kingdom.  Let’s equip this generation to do big things for God!

Check out the e&e blog for some great resources to help this generation step into their calling.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright, He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”  Psalm 92: 12-15.

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

He Cares About Your Small Stuff Too

Every day, my kids and I watch a kid friendly video devotional 

We usually watch the same one every day for an entire week (at least), that way, all of the verses and songs have a chance to really get down into their Spirits.  Sometimes though, I think those lessons are aimed directly at me.

help in the small stuff

In these devotionals, there is usually a scene where one character has trouble applying the lesson.  After some prompting, he always decides to pray to ask God to help him do whatever it is he needs to do.  Usually, I just go happily along with this scene, even prompting my kids to remember to ask God when they need help.

And then today, this particular moment stuck out to me in a big way.

I had already seen this exact video 4 times this week, but, of course, when its God revealing a big truth, it has to be in His timing.

So here’s how the story goes…  A little bug doesn’t want to share his toy, a friend tells him sharing is the right thing to do and that God’s Holy Spirit will help him to share.  The little bug decides that he needs to share but realizes he can’t do it on his own so he stops to say a short prayer, asking God to help him share.

Light bulb moment

I remembered what I had read in my own quiet time just this morning, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Hmm…  I don’t have the things I need because I don’t ask God.  

But wait…  I do ask God… a lot.

And then I heard in my Spirit, “not enough”

I pray, daily.  In fact many, many times daily.

But I realized in that moment that I am not taking God at His Word on everything.

The Scriptures say to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and then all these things will be added to you.

I am not always seeking Him FIRST.

Maybe eventually, once I have figured out that things could be working better, but not always first.  And I’m just talking about the small stuff here, like cleaning the house, organizing the kids’ toys, working on homework, or making dinner in a peaceful house.   Just like the little bug in the video asked God to help him do something so simple (to help him share), I too need to remember to seek God first in the small things.  

We don’t need to deal with every day situations on our own

For example, life gets kind of hectic around my house in the late afternoon.

I am usually trying to get dinner prepped and cooked and get everyone to pitch in getting the house back in order before daddy gets home.  Meanwhile, I have one kid mad that the others aren’t helping, one at my leg crying to be held, one on the floor screaming, one crazy dog sprinting circles around the couch, and the most high energy, loudest preschooler performing his own circus act in the midst of it all…

It can get very overwhelming, very fast.

And its right here in this moment that I can so easily lose my temper and yell at all of them to calm down.

But, that’s not what God wants me to do.

He already knows my circumstances, He already knows what I need, and He already has a solution, He is just waiting for me to ask Him!  

I find myself in circumstances like this quite often where I have convinced myself that God wants me to just be a big girl and figure out those small things on my own, after all He’s got bigger and more important things to worry about, right?

WRONG!!

He wants us to lean on Him!

He wants us to trust Him to lead us.

Just like a great earthly father wants to take care of his kids and provide for them and give them good gifts, our Heavenly Father wants to do EVEN MORE!!

He is simply waiting on us to ask.

This is what it is to seek Him first

We have to learn to rely on God in the smallest of small, most ordinary, every day, mundane circumstances.

Because when we can remember to turn over the reigns to Him for all of the small stuff, then how much better prepared will we be to turn over the reigns to Him with all the big stuff too?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  

~Matthew 7:7-8

Blessings and love,

Tiffany