Real Talk about Christian Sex

S-e-x. Maybe like me, you’re one of those women who used to spell this word out for fear of saying it aloud? Or maybe you still spell it to this day!

Regardless of your approach, the Bible is clear that sex was created by God for our enjoyment. One quick glance at the book of Song of Solomon speaks to this truth!

However, for many Christian women, sex (even “Christian Sex”) is a taboo topic, one not mentioned in polite circles, which makes getting sound advice difficult for Christian women who long for greater intimacy in marriage.

Although Hollywood would have us believe that good sex is all magic and fireworks all the time, we experience the everyday reality of intimacy that can sometimes be difficult, sometimes just ho-hum, sometimes even non-existent.

Especially when marriage is hard work, sex often becomes a chore relegated to the back burner rather than a celebration of love.

But friends, I’m convinced that Satan sets this snare for us, turning a beautiful gift of God, an intimate expression of and reflection of His love for us, into a disappointment at best, or an obstacle at worst.

He is so very good at twisting something God means for our good and distracting us from that abundant life we all want to experience, especially in marriage. Why should we let the Enemy and the world destroy this beautiful, God-given gift?

“I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
“Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love. Song of Solomon 7:10-12 (NASB)

Let’s take back the ground that God intended for us to have in the area of Christian Sex!

Whether you are a Christian wife who wonders what she’s doing wrong or a woman wondering why healthy intimacy seems elusive, these six tips can help you find your way back to a healthy marital intimacy, one that satisfies both yourself and your husband and brings glory to God!

Difficult marriage often means an unhealthy sex life for many Christian women. These 6 tips on Christian Sex can help godly wives find their way back to healthy intimacy again! #Christianmarriage #Christiansex #marriageadvice #Christianwife marriage | healthy intimacy | sex |sex advice for married couples | godly wife | husband | Christian Living | healthy sex life for Christian marriage | struggling marriage | difficult marriage | marriage help |Biblical advice on sex

6 Tips for Better Christian Sex

1. Take a bubble bath or do something that helps you to relax and feel desirable.

Maybe you hate baths, but you love pedicures, or a good massage (even better if your husband is involved). Figure out what works for you, and do it!

2. Be honest with your spouse about your hang-ups.

If he doesn’t touch you (or talk to you!) all day long but expects you to be ready for action at night, then he probably needs to hear that doesn’t work for you. Perhaps something else is turning you off.
Talking about your issues may be embarrassing, but so is having an unhealthy intimacy dynamic in your marriage.

Want the rest of these tips? Follow me on over to my friend Arabah Joy’s blog where she’s hosting a series on sex and healthy intimacy for Christian wives.

Read the rest – click here!

 

Other trusted sources for Christian sex and marriage advice:

Fulfilling Your Vows

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

Rebekah M. Hallberg

 

If you need HOPE for your marriage:

For women who find themselves in a marriage that is less than all they hoped, for women who want to avoid divorce, for women who want a better connection to their spouses, for women who desire to be godly wives – 30 days to finding renewed hope for your marriage!
Hope for the Hurting Wife: 30 Days of Practical Encouragement for Your Marriage. Coming Soon! marriage book|difficult marriage|husband|wife|hard times in marriage|marriage encouragement

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3 Ways to Fight for Joy in a Difficult Marriage

When a marriage relationship is difficult, finding joy in the midst of painful moments feels nearly impossible.

How can we possibly experience real joy in the face of real suffering?

Ongoing marriage problems can wear a wife down to a place of discouragement and grief. The burden often feels too heavy to bear. Even women who are determined to be warrior wives, who fight for marriage like only women of faith can, who fight for joy in everyday moments, feel the weight of the battle for their marriage.

Where is joy when you’re weary and in need of rest?

Here are 3 Biblical Ways to Reclaim Joy in a Difficult Marriage

  1. Recognize progress.

One strategy Satan uses often to discourage me in a rough patch is the sneaky little lie that my marriage will always be difficult. He tries to convince me and you, too, that things will never change.

If you believe that you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes, to remain stuck in the same destructive patterns, then where is your hope? What motivation do you have to keep working toward a healthy marriage?

Do you see how that works, friend? Believing those lies saps us of our strength!

Fight back against the Enemy’s lies and reclaim your hope and joy in the Lord by learning how to recognize progress.

Yes, maybe today even basic communication felt like nails on a chalkboard, but was it as bad as a few months ago? How about a few years ago?

Ask the Lord to help you see the ways in which your marriage relationship is changing, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Claim the promise of Philippians 1:6 for yourself, and if your husband is a believer, then claim it for him, too.

Quit believing the lie that your marriage is forever doomed, and fight for joy!

Please join me over at the Reclaiming Joy in Marriage online marriage event to read the rest of this article! Here you’ll find 31 days of marriage encouragement from a variety of writers – all for FREE!

Jen :)

3 Biblical ways to fight for joy in a difficult marriage

A Prayer for the Defeated Woman

I woke feeling like a defeated woman again today, Lord, wrestling with the flesh.

Tired from the start, I wanted nothing more than to remain in bed. And I have good reason – day four of earache and sore throat and overwhelming weariness. I could stay in bed all day and no one would blame me.

Well, that’s not quite true because the Accuser would blame me.

He would say I’m not trying hard enough, that people are counting on me, that I’m sick too often to go to bed every time a virus comes around.

My perfectionistic nature would agree with him, too.

Father, I’m still struggling to find this balance between working hard in Your strength and taking time to rest, too. Sometimes I wish You could physically pull me aside and say, “It’s okay to quit now, Jen. You can take a break.”

I don’t know why it’s so difficult right now to find peace in my everyday life. There’s so much to do and so little time, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

The gap between expectations and reality is something every human faces, especially those of us in ministry.

What’s most bothersome is this constant struggle between wanting to work hard at the life You have laid before me, to do my best to bring glory to Your name, and the daily desire to run away from it all right now.

I’m living in the mire of Romans 7, but longing for the victory of Romans 8.

And I know, I know, I know… that Your Word says we find rest in You alone, that Your burden is easy and light.

So what am I doing wrong?

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Because this doesn’t feel easy or light. It feels like a lot of hard, unending work.

Maybe that’s the real key – these feelings that would dominate if I allow them to, feelings like “too hard” and “not enough” and “overwhelmed.”

I know the Enemy of my soul has been hard at work for months now, creating doubt, setting me up for perceived failure, erecting obstacles at every turn.

I know Your Word says to expect his attacks (1 Peter 5:8), and I see them now for what they are, but some days it doesn’t seem to help me overcome.

Some days I just feel stuck.

So, I cry out for rescue, Lord. I’m such a helpless, sinful mess – a pastor’s wife who finds little joy in reading Your Word lately, who lacks the words and sometimes even the desire to pray. One who feels ashamed of her own sinful heart.

Ah, there it is – the truth comes out. This is the battle I fight: I want to be good enough on my own, like Eve in the garden who wanted wisdom on her own terms.

The more I struggle to prove myself, the more I recognize my own flaws and failures, the more defeated I become.

My only hope lies in You, my Rescuer and Redeemer.

You, who love me at my worst.

You, who laid down Your life so that I might live.

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:2-5 (NIV)

Help me with this burden of guilt, Father. Remind me that I’m a defeated woman no more!

Release me from the Enemy’s snare.

Lift me up from these depths and restore the joy of my salvation to me.

Forgive me for ignoring Your beckoning call, for taking my relationship with You for granted. Forgive me for giving in to selfish desires, for trying to work in my own strength rather than Yours. Forgive me for turning to worldly comforts rather than You.

You alone are my strength and my shield.

Deliver me.

Remind me that I can only pour out of myself what I allow You to pour into me, but that Your supply is endless and abundant .

Help me to surrender all.

Help my unbelief.

Let me hide myself in You alone.

Because You are a good, good Father, and You love me still.

Jen

I wrote these words over a year ago, about two years into our church-planting journey thus far. I didn’t share them back then for fear of what others might think, but for some reason, this piece keeps coming to mind. So maybe one of you needs to hear that you’re not alone today? :)

If so, let me encourage you that on the other side of this “wrestling with the flesh” came a season of bearing fruit in my personal walk and harvesting fruit in our ministry that was so worth all of the wrestling. So while it may not seem worth it at the moment, my sister in Christ, don’t listen to the Accuser and that inner voice of doubt. Instead, lean on the promise of Galatians 6:9, and do not grow weary in doing good.

I encourage you to take time today to read through Romans 7 and 8. Take heart in knowing that even the apostle Paul wrestled with the flesh and take note of what made all the difference for him. I promise it’s worth a bit of your precious time!

For the minstry wife or the woman in ministry who feels defeated - you're not alone! Take this encouragement from God's Word and let it give you strength! #ministrywife #encouragement #devotional #Bible women of faith | leadership | ministry | pastor's wife | encouragement | church planting | God's Word | The Bible | Bible verse | devotional thought | resources for Christian women

How Truth Helps You Overcome Temptation

A few years ago, we endured a time of discouragement and trials galore. My husband and I were both under a lot of external stress, both personal and from ministry, and our marriage temporarily suffered. I faced the temptation to give up nearly daily!

I felt like one of the Israelites in the desert, bemoaning my situation and feeling helpless to enact change.

I share this story with you today, hoping that it may encourage you if you’re facing a situation that seems impossible, or even unbearable. I hope you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that He always provides a way to overcome temptation! :)

…………………………………………………….

It’s almost supper time, but the stove top sits empty and no pleasing aromas fragrance the air. I’ve not even yet decided what to cook, let alone made any sort of preparations. Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom trying desperately to pray while my preschoolers whine for attention right outside of the bedroom door.

My husband, weary from our recent argument, sits slumped over just outside the door at the dining room table. He’s grumbling over the budget and seems unaware of the noise around him.

There is no peace, no quiet here.

But I need to pray because I am one moment away from falling. One moment from allowing my impatience, anger, resentment, and frustration to spill over onto my family. One moment away from blowing it.

One moment from losing any chance to overcome temptation.

At this moment I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Satan has set his sights on me; I’m being tested.

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It isn’t the first of such evenings in my home. In fact, our marriage relationship has been under strain for a few months now, and I’ve grown oh-so-weary of “fighting the good fight.” However, this past week, God has shown me the truth of my situation; I haven’t been doing my part, either.

I have been selfish. I have been lazy. I have been avoiding the time with my Lord that I need. Thus, I recently resolved to make some positive changes, knowing full well that temptation would linger near.

So as I sit here in my room praying while the chaos rages just outside of the door, I laugh.

Yes, I laugh!

It’s absurd, even comical, that every other person in my home would suddenly become distractions at the very moment I attempt to find peace. I want to complain to the Lord that I’m trying so hard to do what is right, to seek Him in my moment of weakness, but He’s not making it very easy!

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

According to His Word, I can overcome temptation, even this temptation.

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In that moment of laughter, I realize the truth that as long as I’m trying to do right, to obey God, Satan is not going to leave me alone. In fact, He’s even going to use good things like bible study and prayer against me by causing frustration and chaos at just the right moment.

Thankfully, now that God has shown me the truth of the matter, Satan cannot win. I see his game plan for what it is, and prayer is a powerful tool!

Sorry, Satan, I’m getting up from my throne of self-pity and frustration, and I’m cooking supper tonight.

Lord, I thank you for always providing a way out for us, even when it seems impossible or unbearable! I ask that you would encourage my sisters in Christ today to look for the way out when they face temptation. Help them to see the truth in whatever situations they face. Remind them that You are with them always, every step of the way, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Give them the strength they need to resist temptation and to flee the Devil and remind them of your unfailing love and grace for them because of your Son, Jesus Christ. I ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

We can overcome temptation, friends, by standing on God’s truth!

Jen :)

P.S. When you’re struggling with temptation, write or print out the verse above and hang it where you will see it frequently. Use God’s Word as a reminder that you CAN overcome!

When It Is Hard to Believe Jesus

My Good friend and fellow writer, Aimee Imbeau is joining us with these words today:

She was shocked by my words. And a little frightened. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. That was her understanding, anyway. Probably because I was known for my strong faith.

Friends would say, “When Aimee prays, things happen”. Well, nothing was happening now. In fact, I believed that God was purposely choosing to ignore me.

Yeah, I knew He could help me. He could easily change my circumstances. Making things better would be super easy for Him. It wasn’t that I did not believe He couldn’t. I believed He didn’t want to. Maybe this is something that sounds familiar to you today. Perhaps you just don’t know what to do When It’s Hard To Believe Jesus. If so, you are in the right place.

Not believing Jesus is a very difficult season to be in, friend. It’s even harder when you try to explain how you are feeling and no one seems to understand. They seem to think you are the creator of your circumstances and you have the power to change if you only…

  • Read your Bible more
  • Trust God more
  • Have more faith
  • Just try harder
  • Suck it up
  • That’s life
  • God gives and God takes away
  • Keep praying

It’s like it is entirely up to us and our efforts to believe. And it is entirely our fault if we find it hard to believe. The trite advice is not only unhelpful, but also potetnially damaging.

If we only realized the truth, then maybe these seasons of life would be just a little bit smoother. Maybe we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We would stop believing that we have failed or that there is something wrong with us. Perhaps we would begin to understand that it is in these challenging seasons that our faith is built up.

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Losing My Faith

When I believed that God was holding out on me, I thought I was actually losing my faith. The truth was that my faith was weak – not as strong as people had thought – or what I thought. God wanted me to have an unmovable, unshakable faith. And in order to do that, the old faith had to go. The process took time, but I can tell you now that my faith today is much more mature. Our God is in the business of rebuilding, renovating, and re-purposing our faith. Trust Him in this process. It might look messy as any renovation does, but the end result will be beautiful.

If you are struggling with your faith, trust that He is rebuilding it.

Be Careful What You Believe

There was a popular Christian saying that went something like, “If you feel far from God, guess who moved“. I thought maybe, somehow, I inadvertently moved away from Him. I wasn’t sure how I did it – maybe I didn’t study my Bible enough or pray longer prayers. It took me a while, but eventually, I came to see just how unbiblical that statement was. So often, we hear these things that sound good but simply aren’t true. But they influence our faith, and not for the better. We need to be very careful with whom we listen to, whom we believe.

If you are struggling with your faith, be careful whom you believe.

Not A Surprise To God

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God knew we would struggle with our faith. He knew we would have seasons where believing Him would be difficult for us. He expected this. That’s why He had John write his gospel account. The whole purpose of the book of John is for us to strengthen our faith and belief in Jesus.

Did you know that?

God loves us so much that He took the necessary steps to help us believe Him at His word.

God knew we’d struggle so the book of John was to confirm and secure Christians in our faith. He has given us what we need to build up our faith in Him.

Our God is so good to have done this for us.

If you are struggling with your faith, read the book of John and believe.

The Truth

As I matured in my faith and God rebuilt my trust in Him, I began to see the truth. My faith was not dependent upon how I was feeling or on my circumstances. In fact, it had nothing to do with me at all. My faith has everything to do with Him. He promises to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He promises to hear and answer my prayers (Psalm 139:1-4, 1 John 5:14-15, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:12). And He has good and wonderful plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:18, Mark 10:29-30, Philippians 1:6). What a relief it is that I don’t have to strive or work harder to maintain my faith. I just have to choose Him.

I’d like to leave you with Natalie Grant’s new song, More Than Anything. May her words speak deep into your heart today.

If this is a topic you want more guidance in, I have written a study on the book of John called Believe. This study includes video, worksheets, charts, verse cards, Bible reading challenge, and more.

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Photo 2 MEAimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married since 1998 and she still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, baking, writing and hanging out with her family. Aimee is a certified teacher who works from home, supporting and encouraging homeschool families. She blogs over at A Work of Grace. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

How We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it?

Some say it’s a meaningful day to appreciate our loved ones while others claim the day is nothing more than one marketing ploy after the other.

Recently, I learned the surprising story behind our holiday, and how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong. It’s so revolutionary and counter-cultural that I want to share with pretty much everyone I know.

Because, friends, it’s important!

In our commercialized culture, Valentine’s Day has become all about romantic love, and if you don’t have that kind of love in your life (or if your relationship is strained at the moment), then you’re just plain out of luck.

For this reason, Valentine’s Day often leads to depression and loneliness for many people because, let’s be honest, no relationship is perfect and no one wants to be alone on a day that’s all about love.

But the truth is that the origins of Valentine’s Day tell a completely different story – one that reveals how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong!

We’ve been deceived by a world that would take the most precious gift we have to offer, and the most precious gift offered to us, and make it shallow and somewhat meaningless.

Why We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

According to church tradition and historical documents, Saint Valentine was a priest who married couples in secret defiance of the Roman Emperor’s ban on marriage. Valentine believed so strongly in his faith that he demonstrated the ultimate form of love – not eros, or romantic love, but agape – the kind of love that sacrifices self for the sake of another. He put his life on the line in order to help couples who wished to follow God’s ways.

When he was discovered, Valentine faced punishment in the form of imprisonment and torture, eventually laying down his very life for a faith he so firmly believed in.

Did you catch that? He gave his life, for the sake of love and faith.

There is a depth of love to agape that is hard for us to even fathom, friends, and this world would ask us to settle for so much less, whether married or not.

When we feel “less than” because we don’t have a “someone special,” we settle for less than God’s best.

When we feel “unloved” because marriage is hard right now, we settle for less than God’s best.

When we make Valentine’s Day about what we get instead of what we give, we settle for less than God’s best.

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Agape is God’s best.

Agape gives even when it hurts.

Agape is unconditional.

Agape never gives up.

And that agape love is already yours in Christ! All you have to do is receive it.

 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

Saint Valentine simply followed the example of love he found in Christ, who gave his life on the cross out of love for a sinful and hostile world.

You can walk through this Valentine’s Day focused on cards and chocolates and things of this world, or you can walk through the day focused on the supernatural abundance of love that this world can never, ever give you.

My work-in-progress friends, you can spend Valentine’s Day washed in the truth that you are fully loved, unconditionally loved, eternally loved, by a man who gave his very life for you – Jesus Christ.

And as you’re filled with His love, you can spend this day giving agape love away to others, too. It just might change your whole perspective.

Let’s get the day right instead of getting Valentine’s Day all wrong.

Will you join me now in thinking of how you can make agape the focus of your Valentine’s Day?

A Valentine’s Day Gift

In that same spirit, my friend and co-author Rebekah Hallberg and I decided to host a week of daily giveaways for our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Our book focuses on the kind of agape love that chooses to stay even when marriage gets tough!

Each day one of us will be giving away a copy of our book (print or ebook depending on where the winner lives) either on our Facebook pages or our Instagram accounts, so be sure to follow us both if you’re not already.

Being Confident of This – Facebook page and Instagram

Rebekah M. Hallberg – Facebook page and Instagram

Stop by Being Confident of This or Rebekah M. Hallberg on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to win a copy! It's our Valentine's Day gift to you! Christian Women | marriage book | Bible study | devotional | Christian Living | Christian marriage | marriage encouragement| spiritual growth| faith

In the mornings, we’ll open up a thread for that day’s entry, and the following day we’ll announce the winner. You can only win once, but unless you’ve already won, you are free to enter every day!

In addition, we have temporarily lowered the price on the print version of Hope for the Hurting Wife on amazon. Even if you’ve already read it, now would be an excellent time to purchase a copy for a friend or loved one in need or maybe for your church library?

And if you love fashion or coffee, then you should definitely head over to the newly opened Hope for Marriage shop hosted on our good friend Alisa’s site. We’ve designed specially themed apparel and mugs just to encourage women like you and I in our faith and our marriages! On Wednesday, I’ll be giving away an item from the shop in addition to the book giveaway!

Click on the pictures below to hop over to the shop. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of our blogs and book. We certainly appreciate you, friends!

Jen :)

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A Case for Transformed People (and a word about judging)

I’m sure sometime within the last week or so, you’ve read a facebook meme or social media post along the lines of “Don’t judge me.” It’s a relatively popular way to shut down any form of disagreement with any person’s lifestyle choices.

Unfortunately, being a Bible-believing, truth-defending, Christ-follower is no longer popular even in many Christian circles.

Somewhere along the line, some of us Christ-followers have become so conformed to this world that we are afraid and/or unwilling to take a stand on issues that the Bible clearly addresses.

Some believers even go so far as to throw their total support behind worldly ideology, political correctness, tolerance  – whatever you want to call it – and then condemn their fellow believers for being judgmental, close-minded, or intolerant.

They’ve decided that man’s wisdom outweighs God’s Holy Word.

While criticism from the world about our biblically based beliefs is to be expected, criticism from fellow believers often catches us by surprise.

We are not accustomed to being labeled (dare I say “judged”?) by those who should be our support.

How warped is it that Satan has convinced some of us that simply standing on the truth of God’s Word is being judgmental, and is therefore wrong and un-Christian?

Allow me to clarify: the Bible does speak strongly against judging others and becoming self-righteous. We are all familiar with the words of this verse that is usually taken out of context:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

And of course the following verses in this passage that reference the plank and the speck, and so on.

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However, those who quote the verse above often fail to mention the remainder of that chapter. From verse 13 of this Matthew passage and beyond, much more time is spent addressing the fact that the gate to Heaven is narrow, and not all who call themselves Christians will enter it (v. 21)!

For a chapter that starts off with “Do not judge,” it turns out to be what the world would call pretty judgmental.

Yet only God can rightly see, and therefore judge, the motives of the heart. Therefore, we should not pre-occupy ourselves with the sin of others; rather we should be busy dealing with our own sin.

At the same time, God also calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and to be bold in our witness as transformed people.

How then do we confront in truth and love while avoiding acting like a Pharisee?

How do we uphold God’s Word without incorrectly “judging?”

Unfortunately, so-called Christian extremists (like Westboro Baptist Church) have often given others good reason to cry “foul.” Their hatred toward sinners has given Christian living a bad name.  Furthermore, we often see Christian brothers and sisters actively ridiculing those with differing beliefs on social media, adding to the world’s negative perception.

While I fully support upholding God’s Truth, when we haughtily share truth with a sarcastic turn of phrase, a witty cartoon, or a picture that belittles others, we end up conforming to the world and looking just like it.

How can we then be salt or light to a world that is in dire need of God’s truth?

I believe Satan has seized hold of this shame over others’ behavior. He uses it to confuse believers (as well as the world!) and convince many of us that upholding God’s truth is wrong in and of itself, when the reality is that the fault lies in the method of delivery.

We have only to study Christ’s example to see how he gently revealed truth to people, often with a single phrase or sentence (“Go and sin no more.” Jn. 8:11), and always while caring for their needs, whether physical or spiritual.

Jesus did not skirt sin issues, neither did he humiliate the lost.

And when it comes to believers who are mired in sin, the Bible makes a clear case for confronting fellow Christians in the hopes of restoring them into right relationship, too.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” Mt. 18:15

We must follow Christ’s example in our efforts to live as transformed people.

When the Bible speaks clearly on issues of right and wrong, we are called to uphold God’s Truth with – and this is the key – both love AND respect.

The key lies in our delivery – a delivery which requires a balance between Truth and Grace, not the absence of either or both. A total-grace perspective leads to conformity, while a total-truth perspective leads to self-righteous bullying .

Is it wrong to bully others into sharing our beliefs?  Yes!

Is it also wrong to be silent on issues that the Bible clearly addresses?  Yes!

Why then have we allowed the world, the Great Deceiver, and even fellow Christians to tell us that it is un-Christian-like to uphold Christian beliefs? Ironic, isn’t it?

 

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My purpose is this: consider carefully how your life and your actions or statements appear to others (especially in regards to social media). Do they see a difference in you?

Are you being transformed by Christ, or are you choosing to conform to the world?  There is no middle ground!

We cannot claim the power of a risen Savior while simultaneously dismissing His written Word, for if His Word is somehow untrue, then He cannot possibly save us!

I recognize the risk in voicing the unpopular Biblical perspective on many current issues, but then Christ wasn’t all that popular with the worldly and falsely religious leaders of his day, either.

You may lose friends.

You may even be judged by the very people who accuse you of “ being too judgmental.”

Have the courage that Paul wrote of:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” Phil. 3:7-18

Amen?! :)

If at the moment you find that you’ve been conforming to the world (and haven’t we all at some point or another??), remember that God’s grace is immediate and His power to provoke change in us is immeasurable.

On the other hand, if you are already actively trying to live out a transformed life, take heart. You are not alone!

I encourage you to look to God’s Word and the Word alone to form your opinions and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your thinking.

4 questions to ask before sharing a “truth” statement via social media:

  1. Is your audience one you love and one who loves you in return? In other words, will your message be received in the manner in which it was intended?
  2. Is your message one of God’s truth rather than man’s truth? In other words, do you have contextual biblical support for your message or is it merely your opinion?
  3. Is God leading you to share this truth at this particular time in this particular fashion? In other words, has the prompting come from Him or do you just love your soap box? (ouch – yes, I know – it pains me, too!)
  4. Have you achieved a balance between truth and grace? In other words, how is your method of delivery – gentle or smug?

As ambassadors of Christ, we need to be cautious of how we portray Christians online. Ask these 4 questions before sharing truth online with others! social media and Christians, Christian witness on social media, facebook, twitter, instagram, faith, sharing faith online, sharing beliefs, judging others, standing up for your faith, bible study, devotional thought

Telling the truth in grace and love is such a delicate balance to achieve, but as Christ’s image-bearers, we must work toward that balance!

We have amazing technology and a unique opportunity to show the world what Christ-like love truly is, so let’s allow Christ’s love to shine through us without diminishing the light of His message.

Don’t conform.  Be transformed.

Because of His love,

Jen :)

Sharing with: Salt and Light

Why Reading Isn’t Enough ~ Study the Bible

As work-in-progress Christians, we have several tools at our disposal to help us grow closer to God and bear more fruit.

The one tool we often fail to use to its full potential is the Bible!

Some of you may be thinking that you use your Bibles daily or even weekly, so why would I say the Bible is under-utilized?

I say the Bible is under-utilized because I’ve experienced that in my own life as a young Christian.

At the age of fourteen, I moved with my family to a third-world country so that my parents could do missionary work. As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy move for a teenager, especially considering that I lived away from my parents during the school year.

At that age, I often read the Bible because I knew I was supposed to, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

Bible reading simply became an item to check off on my to-do list.

However, after the move overseas, though, I really struggled with being separated from my parents and adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. I felt alone and uncertain. In my teenage awkwardness, I lacked confidence in myself and in my faith.

I wrestled with some deep, unanswered questions – like why? Why was God allowing this hardship in my life?

I began to turn to my Bible for comfort and understanding rather than just as a daily chore. My mom would send me verses that spoke to my circumstances, and I would read them over and over again.

Instead of just reading the Word and then walking away from it, I began to actually study the Bible.

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Christ

I began to read with questions, meditate on verses that stuck out to me, write notes and look up cross-references. The more time I spent studying, the more I realized the very real power of God’s Word to transform me, to comfort me, to give me wisdom for real life!

During that time of hardship, my faith became real to me because instead of simply believing what others had told me about God and His Word, I discovered those truths for myself.

My new appreciation for God’s Word led to a period of tremendous spiritual growth that formed the foundation of the faith I have today.

When I look back over my life, I see how the times I felt most connected to the Lord were also times when I really dug into His Word.

Likewise, the seasons when I struggled the most in my faith were often marked by a reluctance to study the Bible or perhaps even a busyness that kept me preoccupied with little time to really dig in.

Consider these verses from Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. (NIV)

When you study the Bible, you don’t just gain knowledge about God’s characters or how to make wise choices. According to this Psalm, studying the Bible actually helps to keep us from sin!

I have to admit, taking time to study the Bible is still a work-in-progress in me – an area that can use constant improvement.

I wonder if you might be able to relate, friend?

Maybe you’re a work-in-progress woman who isn’t getting much from the Bible lately. Maybe you find it hard to understand or just wish that you knew the Bible better. I’ve been there, too!

Or maybe you’re really struggling in your faith right now, feeling distant from the Lord, and you’re not even trying to study the Bible? I’ve been there, too.

What I can tell you is that the more you invest your time and energy into studying the Word rather than just reading it out of a sense of duty, the more you’ll experience the abundant Christian life that God has planned for you. 

Matthew 4:4 claims that the Word of God gives life itself – it sustains us!

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

That sounds like a good reason to study the Bible!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Christ

So here’s my best advice on how to really study the Bible – treat it like you would any other text that you are going to be studying.

Get serious about it!

      1. Grab a notebook and highlighters. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible, either
      2. Grab tools that can help you understand what you are reading (concordances, study guides, Bible dictionaries, etc.)
      3. Don’t just read a verse and walk away! Ask questions about that verse.
      4. Find a Bible study method that really works for YOU!

Number 4 is key!

My favorite thing to recommend to women who want MORE out of Bible study is to learn HOW to study the Bible for themselves! And one key to doing just that is finding a way that works for you.

*This post contains affiliate links.* Jen is a participant in affiliate programs for trusted products. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this blog!

My friend, Arabah Joy, has created this spectacular course to help people around the world learn to study God’s Word for themselves – it’s called Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. (Disclosure – this is my affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase through this link, I will receive a commission. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of Being Confident of This!)

This practical, self-paced course comes with a printable workbook and teaching videos to show you exactly how to use the various methods being taught so that those of us who are visual learners or who need a little hand-holding can actually see how the methods work!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst
You can expect this course to:

      • teach you 7 different Bible study methods
      • streamline the learning process so you don’t spend weeks or months figuring it out
      • give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
      • provide ready-made templates and printables you can choose from
      • show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
      • revolutionize your time in God’s word and discover fresh intimacy with God in the process.
      • equip you to nourish yourself with the Scriptures
      • teach you how to develop your spiritual senses
      • help you establish a Bible study habit!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst

If this is your first time here at Being Confident of This, you should know I’m very picky about the resources I recommend to my readers because I value your trust (that’s why you won’t see ads all over this site). However, I’m happy to recommend this course because I know Arabah Joy has spent years refining these methods as a missionary overseas and now a writer at arabahjoy.com. Since I’ve known her for several years, I also know her motives are genuine – to help children of God grow in their faith so that they can live out their God-given purpose in this world!

Friend, whether you decide to purchase this course or not, I pray you will seek to study the Word for yourself. I firmly believe that if more Christians better utilized the living Word of God, we would all have the confidence we need to live out the plans God has for us.

Bottom line: don’t just read your Bible, really dig into it.

Study the Bible for yourself!

All because of Christ,

Jen :)

Sharing with: Salt and Light

A Christian’s Responsibility on this Inauguration Day

Today is Inauguration Day for our new president Donald Trump. Some celebrate while others weep. I’m not here to say which camp you should find yourself in as a Christian because I’m honestly not sure how to feel myself – perhaps concerned yet hopeful best describes today for me.

Friend, whatever feelings you are experiencing, know this – we Christ-followers have a job to do. The election of 2016 showed all of us, whether republican or democrat or independent or undecided, that America is deeply divided and susceptible to a fall from within. Even now, on this Inauguration Day, we see the division, the disunity that plagues our country.

But what we really need isn’t another political post.

No, what we all really need is a call to prayer because our best hope doesn’t lie in the hands of any president, past, present or future. Our best hope lies in the Lord alone, the God who sets up kings and kingdoms and also tears them down, the God who directs a king’s heart like He directs streams of water (Prov. 21:1).

Fellow Christians, take heart in these words from 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”(NIV)

When the Lord brought this passage to mind yet again today, I was curious about the context of it. What was going on with the Israelites when He offered them this promise?

As Christians, we have a responsibility this Inauguration Day, but it's probably not what you think! In 2 Chronicles, we read both a promise and a warning... as Chrisitans, we have a choice this Inauguration Day, regardless of whether we like President Trump or not, to follow God's commands. Will we heed both God's promise and warning?

In 2 Chronicles, we read that it was the day of the dedication of the temple, an Inauguration Day of biblical proportions. Solomon was leading the nation of Israel in a week of celebration during which the very glory of God descended into the temple, and the Israelites worshipped Him with praises and sacrifices.

The Lord God gave these words to King Solomon in the evening immediately following the final day of that week-long celebration. Imagine,  Solomon in the cool of the night, ready for rest. Imagine the glory of the Lord before him and this promise for tough times – that if God’s people would humble themselves and pray and walk in His ways, He would raise them up and heal their land.

We’ve likely heard these words before, but did you know that this promise is also followed by a sharp warning?

Later on in chapter 7, verses 19-21, we read these sobering words:

“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.  This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?'” (NIV)

The Lord God himself warned Solomon that if the king and his people followed God’s ways, there would be blessing, but if they turned to their own ways and the world’s ways, there would be destruction.

Just as the Lord warned, over four hundred years later Solomon’s temple was destroyed, a result of Israel’s continual sin and rejection of God’s ways.

Friends, we stand at a crossroads today.

The health and safety of our nation, our leaders, our churches, our communities, even our families, depends not only on our new president but on us as a nation of people who have a choice: will we humble ourselves, repent, and choose to follow God, or will we decide that we know what’s best for humanity, forsake our Creator, and bring destruction on our land?

We don’t need another political post or any more of man’s wisdom. No, what we really need is a call to prayer!

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim. 2:1-2 (NIV)

Fellow Christian, whatever your opinion is of President Trump, let’s bow low before the Lord today and humbly confess our own sin. Let’s beg the Father for healing for our land. Let’s put our trust where it belongs, not in presidencies but in the God of the Universe.

That’s our responsibility this Inauguration Day.

Will you join me?

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

The Spiritual Fruit Test

Lately, I’ve noticed something lacking in our home… well, a few somethings, to be honest. Patience and kindness seem to be in short supply, as well as joy and self-control.

And peace… yes, peace doesn’t exactly describe our home at the moment, either.

I’m not just talking about the kids who live here – I’m talking about this mama, too. I’m not seeing much evidence of the spiritual fruit that should be produced by the heart of a Christ-follower who is abiding in the Vine.

It’s a red flag, really, that something is amiss.

Have you ever tested your spiritual fruit?  Held it up to the Lamp, the faithful Word of the Lord?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

In my bible, beside this passage I have written two small words: The Test.

Do you want to know if you are walking with the Lord? Examine your fruit!  Do they pass the test? Or are you striving to produce fruit all on your own that just aren't quite holding up? spiritual fruit, the spiritual fruit test, christian living, produce spiritual fruit, abiding in the Vine, walking with the Lord

Do you want to know if you are walking with the Lord? Examine your fruit!  Do they pass the test? Or are you striving to produce fruit all on your own that just aren’t quite holding up?

All too often I find myself trying to produce these spiritual fruit all on my own. I wake up in the morning thinking, I’m going to be patient with my children today.  I’m going to be kind and loving to my husband.  And later in the day, when strength runs low, I feel frustrated and out of control. I wonder, “Why am I acting this way?  What is the matter with me today?”  as if some sort of spell has come over me, and I’ve been rendered incapable of obedience.

In truth, my fruits show that I’m not out of control, but I’m off of the vine.  I’m not abiding, not remaining in Christ.  Instead, I’ve chosen my own path, my own methods, my own power.

I’ve chosen doing rather than being, resisting rather than submitting, striving rather than resting.

I’ve somehow forgotten that most basic truth of Christianity, that we cannot produce spiritual fruit on our own, for there is nothing good in us.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;
for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
Romans 7:18
When I lift my spiritual fruit up to the Lamp, I see it – that bruise there when I chose to be selfish rather than selfless.  The wormhole caused by putting off time alone with God.  The blackened area of sin left hidden and unconfessed.
Surprisingly, some of my fruit appears to be pretty and polished, but on the inside the core rots, the result of a valiant effort to do things in my own strength.
It’s ugly fruit.
It’s rotten and worthless.
It reeks of sin and self.
I have to toss the bad fruit out and start anew: reconnect to the Vine, drink the Living Water, break the Bread of Life.

 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3:16-17

Only then, in the hands of the Master, can I produce beautiful and bountiful spiritual fruit, sweet-smelling fruit.
The good news is that no matter how often I fail the fruit test, He is faithful to forgive, faithful to redeem.  His grace is sufficient for my weakness and for yours, too, friend!
Today are you feeling weary, impatient, overwhelmed, dissatisfied, or out of control?
Test your spiritual fruit.
Hold them up to the Lamp of Truth and see what they reveal.
Matthew 11:28-30
 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (emphasis mine)
We have no power to produce spiritual fruit on our own!  Instead of trying and toiling, why not take His yoke and find rest?
Turn to your Maker and Sustainer for the power to produce.
Jen :)
Which fruit is most lacking in your life?  What verses help you to rely on the Spirit rather than self?