When You Don’t Feel Forgiven

Not feeling forgiven is a common problem; some struggle with this feeling more than others. Many things can influence this feeling, but it is nothing more than a feeling, a feeling that is not based on truth for those who belong to Jesus. This feeling, because it isn’t true, should be fought, should be replaced with truth. The following should help those with this feeling to put off the untrue and replace it with the truth.

First, we have to be women who know the Word of God, then we have to believe His Word. We can’t be held captive by our feelings we must put our hope in truth. I know that our feelings are sometimes very strong, and to make matters worse, Satan condemns us. But we have to fight to remember our Father’s truth.

We can’t just take these feelings and forget them without examining ourselves. We have to prayerfully ask if there is any sin that we’re not seeing and confessing. Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” If you’re like me, most your sin looks like yelling at your kids, disrespecting and not submitting to your husband, etc. Most of us aren’t running a crack business from our homes but sin is sin and all of which needs to be confessed and repented.

The good news is that this is why Jesus came here. He came, suffered horribly, becoming human, subjecting Himself to His creation, Mary, Joseph, governing authorities, and so forth. He listened as those He came to serve vehemently criticized Him, calling Him a blasphemer for saying that He was the Son of God. He was horribly tortured, humiliated, and subjected to what may be the worst death known to man. All so that His people could be forgiven, reconciled to God, brought into His family, while showing humanity His Father’s love.

This means that His children are forgiven. When we turned from our sin and trusted in Him alone for salvation and forgiveness of sin we were justified in God’s sight. He paid the price for our sin, all of it. He says that we must go to Him and confess, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Second, we must repent. We must devise a plan to stop sinning. We must turn from our sin to the living God and follow Him, glorifying Him.  John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We will fail, sometimes time after time. But, then we go back to Him, we confess again, and He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness!

This amazing God we serve not only forgives us but cleanses us from all unrighteousness! Thinking about that blows my mind. We know that He is righteous and just, we know that He hates sin, and yet He chooses to not look at our sin once it’s been confessed. He chooses to see us as clean and righteous because of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus took our punishment so that we could be forgiven and looked upon by God as righteous. Take a long look at these verses:

Psalm 103:3-4, “Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.”

Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 38:17, “Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.

Now, obey Philippines 4:6-8, dwell on truth, thank your immensely loving Father for giving you the greatest gift ever. Reject feelings that aren’t based on truth, refuse to listen to Satan’s accusations if you are His. If you aren’t, what are you waiting for? Accept His gift of forgiveness and serve Him, follow the Creator of the heavens and earth, with joy.

A few more verses to dwell on:
2 Corinthians 5:21
Ephesians 1:7-8
Hebrews 4:14-16

John Piper – “Remember, we do not battle unforgiven sin but forgiven sin.”

Examining My Priorities

It’s that time of year again–hopefully you’re thinking along the lines of how you can do this year better. As a Christian woman, wife, mom, and grandma, I’d like to bring more glory to God this year in each of these areas. If I’m able to honor Him in all these God-given roles then I should be able to be a better witness to the unbelievers in my life.

Giving God glory has to begin with His Word. I have to know what He loves and what He hates. So, the first area that I look at is how I’m doing with my bible reading. If you are like me there’s always room for improvement. When I’m behind, I schedule a time to catch up, if not it doesn’t happen. Then I ask myself about the other disciplines–prayer, memorization, meditation, studying, journaling, and fasting. Could I do better this year, the answer is always, yes. So, what would I like to change? Again, I have to schedule my disciplines or it won’t happen. Sometimes even then my plans are supplanted by emergencies or things that just can’t wait. These are His plans for me so I know I can’t complain or lose heart.

Next, I look at 1 Peter 3:1-6, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”

I prayerfully ask how I’m doing with respecting and submitting to my husband.  By the way, as our God-given head what our husband wants us to do is our highest priority. Again, I can always do better! I’m thankful to be able to remind myself of 1 John 1:9, I confess yet again, thank Him for forgiving me, and praise Him for choosing to look at me and not see my sin because Jesus has already paid for it on the cross!

Then, I look at Titus 2:3-5, Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5 tells me what I should be doing as an older woman.  Because my home is where my husband lives and my kids and grandkids visit, it should be a place where they can relax. For younger women or unmarried women, Titus 2:3-5 is your goal as a Christian woman. If you aren’t married this verse still has many targets with which to aim.

I hope that you will join me in examining yourself, using our faithful, gracious Father’s words, so that we can strive to honor Him.

Some Ideas to Help You Focus on the Greatest Gift Ever Given & Rejoice!

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Do you struggle with celebrating Christmas in your heart? The commercial aspect of Christmas can drown out the precious meaning of this amazing holiday. Everywhere you go you are reminded of not getting that gift yet for your neighbor, or you still haven’t finished all your Christmas cards. Or you have lots of plans to show your children the true meaning of Christmas but the refrigerator just died and you were planning on making yummy treats for gifts, or there is a deadline at work that your employer is dropping hints about on a daily basis. I have a sister whose mom, who lives in another state, is dying a slow and painful death right now. Trials and testings don’t take time off for Christmas do they? But, you know that if you’re a Christian this should be one of the  holidays that is the most treasured, therefore, we should have much rejoicing during this time of year!

I’m writing this because if we could just stop for a moment and remember we could be overwhelmed with thankfulness, which could cause us to rejoice regardless of our circumstances. We could be the person that our gracious Father uses, because of our rejoicing, to encourage our husband, our children, a co-worker, a sister, or show our neighbor a beautiful picture of our Savior in the midst of life and trials!

I’m so happy that Strengthening Women is posting a daily Advent Reading! If we could, regardless of how much we have to do, take a minute to read and meditate on these posts, we could begin our day rejoicing! We could use them for our children’s devotional time in the morning and purpose to talk about our unfathomable gift of Christ with our children all day. “All day” when my kids were little meant at meal times, times of correction, and before bed. At work you could read these Advent treasures, before you work through lunch, so that you can meet that deadline and be faithful to show your co-workers the diligent and hard working employee that Matt spoke about in his sermon yesterday.  Allow these reminders of the birth of our Lord to keep you from being crabby due to the pressure!

As you remember our most valued Gift of forgiveness, love, and hope plan to minister to those that our Father has put in your life who have needs or are experiencing trials. Yes, this is one more thing to do, however, they are already on your Christmas list anyway, right? Some small token or even a card is all you need. This way you can obey Him and show compassion and kindness and receive the blessing that accompanies obedience, which is joy! Obedience to this  command to show love also creates peace just as remembrance in your heart can show your children or a co-worker our Emmanuel.

There are many ways that we can remember the Greatest Gift of all time. Listening to good Christmas music such as Sovereign Grace’s Christmas CD, watching a Christmas movie with your kids, you know what I mean, a movie with the real Christmas Story as opposed to the Veggie Tales version. You can read through the portions of the bible that lead up to the Christmas Story so that when you read the Christmas Story on Christmas Day, you or your children have more of this unthinkably loving story of God’s plan to forgive the sin that He despises and include us in His family.

A Year in Homemaking: Hospitality {Week 38}

{Click here to view all of the “A Year in HomeMaking” posts}

Guest post from: Mrs Debby Stitzinger

 
Debby’s life started out on a Pennsylvania dairy farm, and she grew up to become a church pianist and the wife of Jim,  a pastor & seminary professor.  Jim retired from ministry a few years ago, and they now work together supplying college libraries. Debby is currently working on making her 46th quilt!  For the past few years, Debby has been the administrator of “Keepers at Home, Titus 2“,  a Facebook group created to encourage younger ladies and ministry wives. Debby and Jim have 4 adult children,  all married and joyfully serving the Lord,  and 9 little grandchildren, so far!


 

Who is welcome in your home?
Hebrews 13:1-2 says “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NASB)  Also, in Matthew 25:35 Jesus said,  “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;  I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.  I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”  
 

Strangers don’t have to be random people off the street.  They can be people from your church, your family, or your neighbors.  Strangers can be visiting missionaries or special speakers at your church. Some of the best “strangers” that we invited into our home became godly heroes for our children as they were growing up! 

matthew 25 35Prepare your mind and heart, your family and your home for hospitality.

To prepare your mind, you need to decide what is most important.  Is it your things?  Or is it other people and their feelings, and pleasing the Lord?  Ask the Lord to give you the grace you need!

To prepare your family,  start by talking to your husband.  Make a plan that you can afford financially and time-wise.  Decide together if your home can be adjusted for overnight guests or not.  If you live in a tiny apartment, it may not be the right season in your life for overnight guests but you could invite guests for a meal or dessert.  

Prepare your children for guests by helping them choose what toys or games to set out, and what needs to be put away.  Talk to your children about sharing and making others happy (age-appropriately).  

To prepare your home, make your home a welcoming place!  It does not need to be fancy or ornate,  just comfortable and cheerful; A place where guests can relax and not have to worry or be on their guard.  If you happen to own a rare antique glass bowl, for example,  put it in a display cabinet instead of on the coffee table!  

Put something interesting on your coffee table or wherever you plan to spend the time.  Open a photo album to an interesting photo, or set out some interesting small jig-saw puzzle or unique toy.  I like to set out some antique wooden toys that I’ve collected and others find interesting!  

Offer your guests a cold or hot drink, depending on the weather.  Be sure that you set out cups or glasses ahead of time and have the beverages prepared so this can be cared for quickly.  Remember to have coasters and napkins ready.   

To make serving refreshments easier, you may want to collect plain white or clear glass plates and cups.  You can find these items at thrift stores, dollar stores and garage sales.  This collection would be a long term goal, and they don’t have to match!

To make overnight guests feel at home and comfortable, I will give you a list of things that I have learned to have available. Here is my list, but you may want to adjust this list for your own home and lifestyle:

-privacy for your guest
-WiFi code for your home
-travel size toothpaste & shampoo
-fresh bar of soap in the shower
-dental floss
-tissues
-iron & ironing board
-fan
-humidifier in dry climates
-extra blanket
-a pair of socks (from the dollar store)
-hangars for clothes
-hairdryer
-pen & paper
-one soft & one firm pillow
-water bottles or paper cups
-a snack basket with packaged snacks, like granola bars
-a few books or magazines

 
Here are a few personal notes and ideas to consider:
Keep some basic food ingredients in your freezer and pantry for quick meals:
 
-pasta and sauce  
-a package of frozen hamburger
-meatballs or cooked chicken
-taco shells
-frozen cookies
-soup ingredients
 
Quick meals do not have to be fancy!
When we had dinner guests, we did not dismiss our children from the dinner table to play.  We included them and encouraged them to listen to the conversations.  We held our babies or toddlers on our laps to keep them content.  Our children may not have understood everything, but our guests often became wonderful Christian heroes for our family! 

One rainy night, my husband and one of our sons witnessed a bad accident on the freeway and stopped to help.  While the family members were being transported by ambulance to the hospital near our home, my husband and son gathered the family’s wet and bloody belongings, and brought them home so I could wash and care for their things.  Along with their wet clothes, pillows and sleeping bags, were their soaking wet Bibles!  This family had been visiting Bible colleges near us, several hours drive from their home. My husband and son waited with the family at the hospital,  and as they were released, they brought them to our home for a meal, to use the phone and rest while they prepared to finish their long drive home.  They were shocked and grateful to find all their belongings clean and dry!  My other 3 children and I worked all night to care for their things!  What a blessing it was to extend hospitality to this family of strangers that the Lord sent to us through such unusual circumstances!  

Are you prepared to open your home when God calls you into His service?  Don’t be afraid to do it!  You and your family will be so blessed!  

A Year in Homemaking: the Discipline of Thankfulness {Week 34}

{Click here to view all of the “A Year in HomeMaking” posts}

The idea of thankfulness has been a focused goal of mine for the past few years. I’ve been convicted in the past of a lack of thankfulness and tried to repent but it was at best a temporary effort, not a lifestyle change. I read a delightful book regarding the concept of focused, continual thanksgiving and it made a huge impact on me. Not only was I convicted of times of not being thankful but I became excited about learning to become thankful in everything all the time.

1 thessalonians 5 18As most of you know being thankful is a commandment, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances. And just before that we are told, in verse 16, to rejoice always. These two commandments seem inextricably linked to me in that I don’t know how I can rejoice without a thankful heart.

Ok, so we’re told to be thankful and rejoice always… I’m not sure about you but this seems to be a tall order for me at times. For instance, when my kids were little, potty training was one of those times! I absolutely loved being a momma, with the exception of potty training. I seriously could have given my kids to someone, anyone, and had them take that heinous job for me. Another time that was very difficult for me to have a thankful heart was when my parents died, most likely without knowing our Lord. Life is full of times that it is very difficult to be thankful and to rejoice.

But our faithful Father has given us a way to be thankful and even to rejoice always. He is so good to us, never giving us commandments that are impossible to keep, always telling us how to keep His commandments even when it is awfully difficult to do so. When life is miserable and there is nothing in our circumstances that we can think of to be thankful for our loving Father has given us a whole bible full of things to be thankful for! If we choose to obey Him and look in His word for things to be  thankful for rather than dwelling on the garbage of life, we find His abundant love for us in the form of Him sending His Son to take our punishment for our sin, we find that He has adopted us into His family, we find that He has given us His power to overcome sin and obey Him and much more! If this doesn’t fill your heart with thankfulness and joy I don’t know what will. Please don’t get me wrong, you will still be sad. There are still times that I am filled with sadness when I think of my parents but I don’t have to stay there and neither do you. We can, with God’s help, put off those thoughts and put on thoughts of Him and His amazing love for us!

It’s our choice to obey or not, but with disobedience comes consequences. The consequences of dwelling on the sadness and garbage of life may include making yourself miserable, being a person your husband and friends don’t want to be around, being a wretched example for your children, robbing yourself of the joy that our Lord wants us to have, and being a poor witness.

It is my prayer that you purpose to be thankful so that you can bring Him glory. If you want, I can write about some ways that I’ve made thankfulness a delightful, consistent part of my life, and ways that I battle complaining. Just let me know in the comments if this would be helpful for you. 

A Year in Homemaking: Help for You & Chores for Your Kids {Week 20}

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When our children were young, Matt said that he wanted them to help me with the housework. This statement made me anxious because I had a certain way that I liked things done and my kids were, well, they were little kids! So I came up with a plan and had to remind myself that it really didn’t matter if things weren’t done the way that I wanted them to be done, what was important was that they were done.

IMG_3511The plan was to give them chores that I wasn’t too concerned about whether or not they would be done the way I wanted them done, or  chores that if done every day, eventually they would be completed. For instance, one of the jobs that I didn’t care how it was done was to collect the towels and wash cloths from the bathroom and take them to the laundry room. As for an example of the jobs that if it were done everyday eventually it would get done–sweeping the floor. My logic was that eventually the broom would hit every spot, right? Well, close enough!

Another thing that I did after some trial and error was to establish yearly chores rather than daily, or even monthly, ones. The trial and error part started out something like this: “Mom! It was my turn yesterday, it’s her turn.” Other child, “No, it’s not, it’s her turn!” And I surely didn’t remember whose turn it was! Eventually we began our yearly chore system. This eliminated lots of time spent planning; Now I only had to plan all the chores once a year and I only had to change the names on the list. This plan helped encourage efficiency in that all kids wanted to hurry through their chores so they learned to quickly do a good job so that their jobs would pass inspection.

541743_770725100408_740921963_nI really liked the idea of boys doing dishes and cooking and girls shoveling snow and raking leaves, because I didn’t know what God had in store for my children and it seemed prudent to train them to know how to do all possible household jobs. I knew one man who earned money in college because he was the only man in his dorm who could sew. Another man whose mom taught him to sew made his wife’s wedding dress! I will say this, Matty had a lot of energy that needed to be used, so once he was trained he got most of the strenuous and outdoor jobs. Sure, girls can do these things but it is also good for boys to learn to be men and to care for girls/women by doing the heavy lifting types of jobs.

Another benefit to training your children is that they will be able to minister to the brethren, as well as come along side your neighbors who could use a helping hand. I believe that it’s important to teach our children to help those in need. This also turned into a money making opportunity when our kids were older. They would offer to do things for folks for free but people would insist on giving them money. Also, if you ever had a roommate who didn’t know how to accomplish basic household responsibilities this will mean more to you! Please don’t let your child be that roommate.

Here is a sample list of chores you may want to turn over to your kids:
-taking out garbage 
-shoveling snow 
-raking leaves 
-making their beds and washing sheets 
-picking up their room  
-caring for animals

10362794_812372607137_749297822_oWe had each child take a room–kitchen, bathroom, living room. That room was their responsibility for the year and then we grouped other responsibilities for the last child. We didn’t give an allowance for these things, because, like roommates, it’s part of the responsibility of living in the home–everyone, including the parents, has work to do.

When the kids are little they think that chores are fun. Enjoy, because it won’t last long! But when they are older I hope that you will stay in the “battle” and teach your children to be responsible, God-honoring adults.

{If you would like to view the rest of the “A Year in Homemaking” series, click here.}

A Year in Homemaking: Priorities {Week 17}

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{Click here to view all of the “A Year in HomeMaking” posts}

Since we are doing the Year in Homemaking seriesI thought that I would write about some biblical basics for a Christian woman, married or single, regarding homemaking. What does the Word of God have to say about homemaking, and practically speaking, what can that look like?

Our priorities as Christian women begin with God, our disciplines — you knew I was going to say that didn’t you? And by the way, your children’s disciplines, reading the bible, praying, memorizing verses, and depending on how old they are, studying and journaling are your responsibility unless your husband wants to do bible with them. Everything else we do and how we do it should be determined by His words to us in the bible.

For a married woman our next priority is our husband, then our children, then our home because this is where we minister…yes, minister to them.  I colossians 3 23 imageshope that you see homemaking as a ministry because our first and foremost ministry is to our families (Titus 2:3-5). For a single woman, though her job should be her priority, her home should be a place that is pleasant to return to at the end of the day, a place that she can show love to her roommate (if she has one), and to entertain.

I had to learn to view homemaking as a job because it was too easy for me to begin to think, “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” My husband’s clothes weren’t washed and put away in time, the house wasn’t cleaned as it should have been, that sort of thing. I would never have done that as an employee. I had to remember that God saw everything that I did and that I wanted to please Him in this God given role. Colossians 3:23 says that whatever we do we should work heartily as for the Lord. I also wanted to give my girls this example to follow, as well as my son an example as to what to look for in a wife. I ended up having to have this talk with myself more than once because other things kept drawing me away. The other things were good things, sometimes fun with the kids, sometimes ministry; however, my primary task was caring for my family.

Working hard and doing a good job at home is a very practical way to show our love for our husbands, children, or a single woman’s roommate. We should make our homes a comfortable and happy place to come home to at the end of the day.  Being dependable when it comes to clothes, food, picking up, and cleaning gives our families or roommates, if it’s your turn to cook and clean, a sense of peace.

Learning to quickly and efficiently keep your home gives you time for other things. I’ve read many time management and homemaking books and I still copy useful tips from the internet and file them. Talking with other women, especially those who have a bunch of kids because they have to learn to make the most of their time, is also very helpful. Everyone is different with different schedules and responsibilities so what works for you may not work for someone else, but it seems like there is always something you can learn that is helpful. Becoming the best homemaker possible is worship so let’s stay in the battle with ourselves and honor Him in our homes.

How Has Your Time with the Lord Been?

actsSo, it’s that time of the year again, and yes I’m going to ask again, how are your disciplines going? Our time with the Lord is very appropriately called disciplines because as you’ve probably noticed it can be difficult to maintain any and all the disciplines. I will speak briefly of some of the disciplines–bible reading, prayer, memorization, meditation, and study. These disciplines are the best thing that we can do for ourselves and for His glory!

We are commanded over and over to be in God’s word. Psalm 119 is a very long  psalm discussing the benefits associated with knowing His word as well as problems we can avoid if we are faithful to read the Bible. This psalm also includes prayers we can pray before we read. John 15 speaks of the necessity of abiding in Him — if you don’t read, study, memorize, and meditate on the bible how will you abide in Him? Hebrews 2 says that we must pay closer attention to what we’ve heard, warning that if we don’t, we could drift away. God is our comfort, our hope, our strength, and our peace. We are foolish if our pride leads us to imagine that we could bring Him glory without knowing His word. There are many bible reading programs: YouVersion, Bible Gateway, Olive Tree, etc. I have some printed that, if you ask me, I will gladly give you.

The bible also tells us that we need to pray without ceasing.  I pray two types of prayer: formal and informal. Informal prayer is simply the time that I talk with Him throughout the day. Formal prayer is a time that I set aside to speak with our Father. I use an acronym to help me to pray:

ACTS —

A is adoration, which is simply telling God the things that I love about Him. Psalms are a good place to find His attributes, but I strongly recommend that as you read through the bible you mark all the verses that tell you about Him.

C is confession. After I confess everything I can think of, I ask Him to show me the rest of my sin so that I can confess all of it (1 John 1:9) and work to repent.

T is thanksgiving. I also include different aspects of all that I’ve been given because of the gospel.  Keeping the gospel forefront in your mind by including it in prayer causes so much joy and keeps it ready on your lips to speak to those without Him.

S is supplication, which is just taking your requests to Him. There are many prayers included in scripture and many times what you read that day will cause you to think of things to pray.

Nichole recently wrote an excellent article on memorizing — it’s not too late to join us! Everyone should have gotten the bulletin insert a few weeks ago with memorization tips. Meditation is easy if you are memorizing.

Matt offers an Acts study on Tuesdays at 6:30p and Thursdays at 9p. The only homework is reading the chapter discussed prior to the study.

This is my prayer for you: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. But you have to do the work and stay in the battle!

How Will You Prepare For Christmas?

20131219 post picHere we are once again in the whirlwind of busyness preparing for Christmas and New Years. So much to do so little time. For me the parable of Martha and Mary speaks loudly at this time of year. Will we allow the preparation for these wonderful holidays to keep us so busy that we forget why we’re celebrating? Or will we, by the grace of God, focus on the greatest gift we’ve ever been given and, in doing so, encourage others to do the same? Will we bring God glory this Christmas or will we merely get through another holiday season?

I believe that we can choose to be like Mary while taking care of business simply by dwelling on our Father and His precious gift of Jesus. If you control your thinking and focus on Him this leads to extreme thankfulness and joy while you take care of holiday preparations. Your joy brings Him glory and can encourage others to be thankful as well.

So, if you’d like to give it a try, here are some amazing things to dwell on, things we’ve been given because our Father chose to send His Son into this sin-filled world years ago on the first Christmas:

  1. Forgiveness: the ability to be forgiven gives us a reconciled and unbroken relationship with our Creator. (1 John 1:9 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

  2. Adoption into the family of God: Because of Jesus, we are daughters of the King of the heavens and the earth! (2 Corinthians 6:18)

  3. The Holy Spirit to guide, to empower us to resist sin, to understand His word, and to enable us to serve God. (Ephesians 3:4-5 & Acts 1:8)

  4. Because our sin has been paid for, we are looked upon by God as righteous and made holy. (Romans 5:19)

  5. We have an intercessor who is the very Son of God, the great High Priest. (Hebrews 7:25)

  6. We have been given the knowledge of our great God. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

  7. Confidence to enter the King’s throne room with boldness to receive grace and mercy when we need it. (Hebrews 4:16)

  8. We have His love lavished upon us. (Ephesians 3:19)

  9. Eternal life with our precious God and Savior free from sin, pain, sadness, and mourning! (Revelation 21:3-4)

This is just a short list to get you started. I hope you have joy-filled Christmas, dwelling on Him, His greatness and love for you, and the day that we will meet Him face to face!

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6

Advice and Counsel vs Opinion

adviceA friend of mine recently posted that we should be careful not to confuse advice and counsel with opinions. She said that if we wanted opinions we should go to friends that are our age but that if we wanted advice or counsel we should seek out a godly older person. If we need counsel what does a godly older person look like? For that matter, if we’re looking for opinions should we ask anyone or should we ask a godly person? What is a godly person?

If we’re making life decisions we are told in the Word of God that a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. For those who love Him wise counsel is godly counsel. Godly counsel should be sought from a godly, older person. Matt has explained that a godly person is godly because He is included in their life, in their decision making, He is precious to them. Godly folks want to do what He wants them to do so they are diligent readers of the Bible. They consistently study the Word, they memorize it. They have verses that tell them how they should live in every area of their life. God’s word is valuable to these people and they know that they need to listen to Him to successfully follow Him.

We can only identify older, godly people by watching them. Over time we will see how they handle life, trials, and good times. We will begin to see what is important to them as well as what is not acceptable to them. I remember a woman who I met  shortly after I was saved. This woman was a submissive and respectful wife, even when it was difficult. She was a caring mom who brought her children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Her main concern was that her children knew all about God. She could quote scripture with the best of them and she applied those verses to her life. She wasn’t in leadership and she didn’t have much money, her house was a work in progress, but she had what I wanted. She was a godly woman. I decided that this was the woman I wanted to disciple me. I asked her and she said yes!

When I need advice I go to an older, godly person. These folks have been around the block a few times more than me. They have been there and done that and seen the results. I want to seek their counsel for places that I haven’t gone yet, things that I haven’t experienced. It gives me great comfort to know, from watching them, that I can go to them when I need godly counsel for answers that will bring my Lord glory.

It is also important to have godly friends that we can discuss life with and hear their opinions. Our Lord has blessed me with many godly friends, peers, folks close to my age as well as those younger than me. I was just speaking with thankfulness of how my kids are now people who I consider godly friends. I want to know their opinions. I also enjoy talking with my friends about our Father. This in and of itself is such a blessing! If you love Him you can’t help but want to speak of Him and all the wonders of our great God. I also want to know what they think about various life issues but these are not the folks who I go to for counsel.

I pray that you have godly friends to enjoy life with as well as to bear your burdens. I also pray that you have godly counselors to guide you through life’s obstacles in such a way as to show others our Lord and Savior. If you are lacking in these areas I recommend that you ask your elders’ wives for direction. They will be able to point you to some godly people and counselors.