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!

For the Wife Who’s Not in Love Anymore

I’m just not in love anymore.

It’s a phrase we hear often enough, a phrase that’s no longer attached to any one generation in particular. In fact, wives who have been married for decades are just as likely to utter these words as those who’ve only been married a short time.

I’m not in love anymore.

I’m sure the words pain you as much as they pain me because I remember a time when the same thought reverberated through my heartstrings.

Yes, me, a pastor’s wife who once upon a time fell madly in love with an enthusiastic young youth minister, only to quickly learn that marriage wasn’t all happily-ever-after wedded bliss.

We struggled off and on for the better part of a decade before learning how to consistently enjoy being married to each other!

But I’m not in love anymore, and my husband isn’t in love with me either, what else can I possibly do? 

Personally, I have some strong feelings about those words because I have learned that real love, true love is a choice, not a feeling – despite what our me-first culture would have us believe.

However, let’s set aside my personal feelings for now and dive right into what the Word of God has to say on the issue.

6 Essential Scriptures about Love:

1. According to scripture, our hearts are deceitful. We cannot trust the feeling of being not in love anymore.

Feelings come and go, sometimes without rhyme or reason, so we cannot trust our hearts to lead us in God’s ways. Instead, we must rely on what we know to be true, and we find such truth in His Word.

The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

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2. God’s Word reveals that loving each other isn’t an option, it’s a command!

Whether or not we feel like loving our spouses, God expects us to love them in our choices.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

3.  According to the Bible, agape love is the kind of love that sacrifices self in favor of another.

Jesus gave us the greatest example of agape love at the cross.

We are to follow Jesus’ example in living out that kind of sacrificial love. Agape love might be as simple as making a meal for your spouse, or ironing his clothes, or as difficult as keeping silent even when a spouse is wrong.

“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 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

So how do we know what God expects from us in living out agape love? After all, no one wants to be a doormat!

We must abide in Him and be sensitive to the Spirit, who will guide us when conflicts arise.

The next time the Spirit nudges you to do that kind thing for a loved one, pay attention and choose to obey even if you don’t feel like it!

4. The infamous love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) reminds us that God has high standards for what real love looks like.

According to these verses, we can be obedient in so many other areas, but without love, all of those good works are meaningless!

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.            1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

5. God’s Word claims that if we don’t love others, then we don’t really know God – ouch!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

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6. We are capable of loving others (even when we don’t feel like it) because Christ loved us first!

Sometimes we’re tempted to doubt this truth. We wrongly believe that we cannot love our spouses, when in fact, we have all power to do just that in Christ!

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Even when the loving feelings just aren’t there, we can choose to act on the very real love that flows from Jesus.

We choose love out of gratefulness for what Christ has done for us.

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After all, I’m not perfect, and neither are you, yet Christ loved us at our very worst when we were unlovable, unworthy, enslaved to sin. We can and should demonstrate that same Christ-like love toward our spouses, even when they’re wrong, even when they are at their worst.

Friends, I know biblical love is not an easy standard to live up to. I fail so often in my own life!

I know the frustration of living in a broken marriage. I know the despair of feeling like things will never change.

I know the sorrow of feeling I’m not in love anymore.

But I also know the joy of seeing the Father change my own heart, as well as my husband’s heart. I know the joy of renewed hope.

I even know the joy of rekindled feelings when we got to the sweet spot of marriage, the “for better” that waited for us on the other side of the “for worse.”

So you’re not in love anymore – that may be true.

Your feelings may have changed, but God’s Word is clear:  love is a command, a choice, and the power to love comes not from our feelings but from Christ alone.

Let me encourage to choose love today, and when you do, may you reap the rewards that are promised!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (NIV)

Above all, don’t give up hope that your marriage can change. Let that change begin with you.

As my gift to you to encourage you along those lines, I’m offering the lovely printable below to all subscribers! Just fill in your information and look for your confirmation email (be sure to check the spam folder if you don’t see it right away).

Please remember that you are not alone, my friend. Fellow warrior wives have lived in these same trenches and have won the battle for healthy marriage by God’s design. And the Lord your God is with you in all things!

Jen :)

For further reading: I Didn’t Want My Husband Anymore

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8 Verses of Hope for Every Woman (free printable!)

You wake up already weary, thinking of all that you need to accomplish for the day but also keenly aware of the obstacles in your life.

It’s one of those days when adulting feels too hard from the get-go. You’d rather just crawl back in bed and hide from the world.

Your body is weary, your mind overwhelmed, and your spirit oh-so-weak. But you must press on because you are wife, mother, friend, worker, leader…

People are counting on you!

Where do you find hope to persevere when you are overwhelmed by life? How do you find motivation to keep pressing on?

My personal favorite place to start is in the Word – looking for verses of hope to remind my heart and spirit of God’s truth!

Yes, maybe today feels too difficult and I’m tempted to believe Satan’s lie that I’m not enough or that this is too hard for me. However, God’s promise to sustain me remains true. His promise that my hope in Him will not be put to shame remains true. His claim to love me anyways remains true. No matter what my feelings tell me!

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Studying and memorizing verses of hope helps me to remember who I am in Christ: beloved daughter of God Almighty, chosen one, fully equipped for every good work, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, able.

Friend, we can choose hope in Christ despite our current circumstances because we know the power of Christ in us. We believe His Word is true, and we will not let Satan win this battle for our day!

Today I’m sharing with you 8 of my favorite verses for hope to celebrate the launch of our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Stop by and enter the giveaway if you haven’t already!

Print these verses of hope out and keep them near you as visual reminders of God’s promises!

Verses of Hope for Every Woman

  1. Psalm 71:14 (NIV)

“As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise you more and more.”

I’ve been reading in the Psalms lately, and one recurring phrase stands out to me: “let me not be put to shame” (Ps. 22:5). The phrase recurs time and again throughout the early Psalms, and the context is that of crying out to the Lord and not being put to shame. We can be unashamed of our hope in the Lord, friends, because we know our God is faithful!

 

  1. Jude 24,25 (NIV)

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

One of my favorite verses of hope to cling to to in tough times, these verses in Jude remind us that it is God who works in us. He never gives up. He always perseveres. He is still at work in us and in our circumstances (Phil. 1:6).

 

  1. Palm 121:1-2 (NIV)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Your hope is never in vain when you place it in the Lord alone, friends! We may have trouble in our families, with our children, with our marriages, with our finances, and so forth, but we have a God who cares about us deeply. Cry out to Him for rescue, for strength, for the will to persevere!

 

  1. 1 Cor. 13:7 (NIV)

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

God’s love for you – agape love – is perfect. We can always find hope in His love for us, even when we feel unloved, underappreciated, and totally inadequate Find rest in His perfect love today!

 

  1. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Sometimes when we feel completely exhausted and at our limits, we don’t sense the Lord’s presence with us. We may even begin to believe that He has forsaken us altogether. But that’s not true, friends. His Word claims that He is close to us, especially when we’re brokenhearted, especially when our spirits are crushed.

Don’t let the Enemy convince you otherwise, friend. Believe these verses of hope and act on them!

 

  1. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

This verse should probably come first among these verses of hope. Instead of wondering what is wrong with you when you have days of discouragement, recognize that the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but against a very real Enemy who wants nothing more than to see you fail (Eph 6:12)!

 

  1. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

As a wife who spent the better part of a decade learning how to fight for her marriage instead of against her husband, I often grew weary. Sometimes I even gave up for a time. This verse of hope has been key for me these last several years to keep persevering even when I’m not seeing the fruit that I want to see quickly enough to suit me. ;)

If we persevere in doing God’s work, we will reap a harvest!

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  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

“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.”

My favorite among these verses of hope. The world tells us weakness is humiliating, but God’s Word claims otherwise. Take your weakness straight the the Lord, friend, and let Him demonstrate His power in you!

 Click here for Verses of Hope free printable

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As you spend time with these verses of hope, study them, meditate on them, memorize them. Hang them in your home where you will see them frequently! Pray to the Father who loves you to give you motivation and strength to keep fighting the good fight (Eph. 6:12)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Press on toward the goal!

Jen

Sharing with: Grace and Truth Link-up

 

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How to Overcome Food Fixation

Every evening around 9 p.m. the cravings begin.

I want chocolate. I want Cherry Pepsi. I want All The Things that are not good for my body, especially that late at night.

Looking back, I see how that habit developed. When our children were younger and my husband worked second shift, I would reward myself for getting through the tough evening hours alone with some “me time” in front of the tv.

Of course, I couldn’t leave out a bedtime sweet, or two, also part of the reward.

Thus food became intimately connected to my idea of relaxation.

It’s taken years of the Lord dealing with me in this area of satisfaction and contentment for me to realize that I use food in all of the wrong ways a majority of the time! And to be honest, I’m still learning.

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*Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book Full in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links*

I recently finished reading Full by Asheritah CiuCiu, who writes about my very struggle – to find satisfaction in Christ alone.

This particular book took me three times as long to finish as it should have because at first, I just plain didn’t want to read it.

In fact, I spent the first half of this year in full out rebellion against what the Lord had previously taught me about caring for my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. I ate whatever I wanted. I exercised only when really motivated.

And I picked up and put down Full about ten times over the course of several months.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I decided that I didn’t want to submit to the Lord in the area of healthy eating.

It was just too hard!

Enter Full and Asheritah CiuCiu’s humble yet truth-filled approach to “Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.”

It’s easy to relate to the author because I am her, the woman who can’t stop putting brownies in her mouth even when she’s full. I’m also the woman who sometimes feels confused about the role of food in my life.

I recognize that food is a gift from our Heavenly Father and that all things are permissible in moderation, but how that plays out in my life isn’t always clear-cut.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay?

In fact, often avoiding sugary sweets results in an unhealthy obsession about when I might be able to have them next!

This is precisely the conundrum that Asheritah describes in her book, and she rightly refers to it as “food fixation.”

According to CiuCiu, Full isn’t just for those struggling to honor God with their food choices, but it’s also for those who have an unhealthy obsession with food in general – the crunchy mama who will only eat organic, the woman fighting against gluttony, the one obsessed with body image and every morsel she puts in her mouth.

The author points out that any type of food fixation (whether the fixation is on brownies or wheat grass) leads us into slavery – it’s a form of idolatry that even committed Christians often fail to recognize.

By the time I came across the sentence “Food is not the enemy,” I understood that this was a book I desperately needed.

My battle to overcome in the area of my health and weight led me to a place of extreme control rather than a place of freedom, which explains my six-month rebellion.

The battle to overcome food fixation

Rather than succumbing to food fixation, Asheritah suggests that we learn to find satisfaction in Christ, to take in the Bread of Life and to be full. Her research into food addiction and the Bible itself help us to see that food fixation is, at its core, a spiritual issue rather than a physical one.

As a spiritual issue, we must learn to address the root causes of our food fixation. We must learn how to find fullness and satisfaction in Christ alone, how to meet everyday temptations with spiritual truth.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay? How can I eat a friend's home if she doesn't serve organic? If these are questions that consume your thoughts, then you need this book! Full by Asheritah CiuCiu authentically addresses the issue of food fixation that plagues our society today! food|Full|book review|weight-loss journey|healthy eating|food obsession |diet|organic|overcoming obesity

The final section of this book, in particular, teaches many practical ways to overcome food fixation:

  • learning to recognize past patterns
  • overcoming temptation through scripture memory and prayer
  • celebrating every little victory

Aside from the first few chapters, this was my favorite section of the book. With these tools and the power of the Spirit, we can break the chains of addiction and find our way to freedom!

If any type of food fixation keeps you in bondage, if you long for food freedom, be sure to pick up a copy of Asheritah CiuCiu’s book Full.

Above all, keep seeking your Heavenly Father and invite Him to release you from the bonds of food fixation once and for all.

He is able!

Jen :)

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.

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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!

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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!

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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

The Secret to Being a Warrior Wife

He shuffled into the living room, shoulders slumped, and with a great sigh lowered himself to the couch.  His clothes bore the marks of a man who worked hard for a living.

He could barely meet my gaze, as if he were somehow lacking or not enough.  I knew he needed my compassion and encouragement, but instead of sympathy, I felt only frustration.

After all, I thought, I’m working hard in this season, too. I’m weary, too. What do I have left to offer? It feels like too much, and I have nothing left to give.

Besides, he’s a grown man. I’m busy caring for children and our home all day long, on top of the demands of work and ministry roles that I am responsible for. If I can keep myself going, why can’t he keep himself going?

And just like that I missed the opportunity to be a warrior wife.

Have you ever been so caught up in the busyness and stress of life that you forget who you are or who you were created to be, friend?

Especially as a writer and pastor’s wife, I struggle with balancing my family and home life with the demands of ministry life. Without realizing it, I begin to neglect important relationships because I’m “just so busy.”

I become task-oriented rather than people-oriented, a slave to the to-do list rather than a Spirit-led woman.

And it’s downright frustrating how quickly and easily I slip into this mode of doing rather than being!

We get so caught up in busy schedules and who we think we are supposed to be that we forget our primary purpose. Don't make the mistake of leaving your husband without the helper he really needs. Being a warrior wife is not just a role... The Secret to being a Warrior Wife

At a recent women’s conference, I received a wake-up call from the Lord. One speaker in particular, Dana James, reminded us of who we are created to be as daughters of the one true King in relation to our husbands.

My friend Dana shared with us that God designed us to be “helpers” from the very beginning.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” Gen. 2:18

Yes, I know we’ve all heard this verse before. Our job is to help, right? That’s our God-given “role,” right?

Wrong!

Dana drew our attention to the original language, which uses the Hebrew word ezer (pronounced ay-zer).  The word ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament, but the majority of those uses are in reference to God himself, His character.  In such cases, the word ezer is used in connection with words like shield, sword, deliverer, mighty, and hope.

 Thus, ezer refers to the warrior aspect of God’s character – the One who fights on our behalf, our Shield and Defender, our Rescue.

As I looked further into the meanings attached to this word and its definitions, I found connotations of assistance or aid, especially in times of suffering or distress.  It means relief given to someone in need, removing or reducing something that is painful, unpleasant, or even oppressive!

And this very same word ezer is used to describe a helper suitable for Adam.

Do you see what this means for us, my sisters in Christ?

 

Hope for the Hurting Wife - a 30-day devotional to encourage your marriage. Sign up now to grab your free sample chapters! Christian women|marriage help|hope for marriage|free marriage resources|free sample|marriage book|marriage problems|marriage encouragement

When the Lord God chose to create woman, He instilled in her very character the properties of this ezer. He created us to be warrior women, warrior wives, who will bravely fight spiritual battles on behalf of our husbands, who will provide aid and relief to the men in our lives who are worn down and discouraged by the demands of this earthly life.

Here’s the rub: I think we all know this intuitively and most of us truly desire to live this out.

But sometimes it feels like a whole lot of work that we have no strength to do, doesn’t it?

So when I saw my hard-working husband down and out on a day when I was already in that weighed-down place myself, I chose to look the other way. I chose to put my needs first.

I left him without his ezer, his helper.

It was a selfish choice that I’m ashamed to say I make often when I’m already stressed.  And I wonder, why do I make this choice?  What is it that feels so hard about being a warrior wife? What secret am I missing?

The secret to being a warrior wife lies in our perspective.

“It’s who we are, not a role we play!” ~ Dana James

When I see being a warrior wife as a job I need to do, it’s easy for me to let it slide on the days when I’m worn out or discouraged. It’s easy for me to call it “too hard.”  But when I see being a warrior wife as part of my very identity, as a reflection of God’s character that comes not from trying harder, but from yielding to the Spirit, then I’m left with no excuses.

It is who I am called to be in Christ, and it’s who you are called to be in Christ, too, friend. Don’t leave your husband without the helper he really needs.

You were created for this and in Christ, you are equipped for this.

Let’s be warrior wives who fight the right kind of battles, not against our husbands, but for them.

Let’s do battle on our knees and in our war rooms against the real enemy.

Let’s choose to aid rather than to ignore.

Be an ezer. Fight!

Jen :)

~ This devotional is an excerpt from the book, Hope for the Hurting Wife by Rebekah Hallberg and Jen Stults.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information on Being Confident of This’s affiliate policy, please visit the home page here. Thank you for helping to support this site!

 

Marriage is worth fighting for! Don't fall for the lies of the world and the Enemy that it's easier to just give up. Use this marriage devotional to turn to God and invite Him to be the solution to your marriage problems. Be a Warrior Wife! #marriage #book #devotional #encouragement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration for this devotional came from Dana James’s talk “Being a Very Strong Helper” at Tranfsormed 2016 (Central Conference) and was used with permission from Dana.  If you’d like to connect more with Dana, she writes at The Prime Rib, a website for minister’s wives in Tennessee.

For a practical take on how to encourage a discouraged husband (and how NOT to), try this one from Club 31 Women.

Recommended resources for being a warrior wife:

 


Sharing with: Grace and Truth

3 Ways to Calm Your Emotions ~ Before They Ruin Your Marriage

Have you ever looked at your marriage and wondered what has happened? Have you been completely dissatisfied with the state of everything? Have you gone so far as to maybe even ponder divorce?

You’re not alone.

I know that as a culture, we tend to keep doing what we do, so long as it is beneficial to us in some way. But when we turn that corner where we feel it is no longer beneficial, we’re quick to throw it away – whether it’s an old book that our kids have outgrown, a faulty appliance, broken furniture, and even our marriage.

I wrote about the day I took my ring off, and I’ve been open with struggles in my own marriage. It’s hard to want to stay, to want to work things out, when the struggles seem too big.

Fear can play a major role in trying to work through our problems. We fear more pain, rejection, we even fear other people finding out about our troubles. Fear can truly mess us up in our day to day lives.

But there is something that can add fuel to fear’s fire and really make matters seem worse than they need to be.

Our emotions.

I’ve found that when my emotions run wild, the fear flares up. When the fear seems out of control, everything seems impossible. So to quiet the fear, I have to calm the emotions.

Here are 3 ways to calm your emotions.

I've found that when my emotions run wild, the fear flares up. When the fear seems out of control, everything seems impossible. So to quiet the fear, I have to calm the emotions. Here are 3 ways to calm your emotions.

1. REST

I’ve found that my emotions are the most difficult to control when I’m tired. No matter how hard I try to keep things in check, every little issue seems more magnified when I’m tired. I try to deny the tiredness and convince myself that the problem truly is just that big.

Lately I’ve gone back to intentionally lying down on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t always sleep, but I do intentionally give my body a bit of a break. Funny how we have to be so intentional about these things, isn’t it?

One time, early in my marriage, I was having trouble sleeping – or maybe adjusting to another body in the bed. My husband suggested sleeping with a Bible under my pillow, which I did. I was able to fall right to sleep and I slept very well. I’ve gone back to that practice from time to time, as the need presents itself. There’s something special about having God’s Word close to our minds while we sleep.

2. WORSHIP MUSIC

Ready for a bit of honesty here? This one is the hardest for me. Yup. This is where it becomes a battle of the will.

See, once I realize that my emotions are the problem, therefore, that I’m the problem (or at least a part of the problem), I don’t want to have to own up to it. I don’t want to be accountable for what I’ve contributed to the situation. I want to push the blame to anyone else.

It’s become a heart issue by this point – one that I don’t want to deal with.

I have to physically choose to turn on the music, put in the earbuds, and let God’s Word sink into my heart through worship songs.

I don’t have any particular favorites. It seems each time I listen, there are songs with lyrics geared specifically to what I need to hear. I love how God does that!

3. TIME WITH GOD

I often go to a favorite Scripture and just meditate on that. I read the verses around my favorites, to try to understand the context, to try to get a little more out of the passage. But I meditate on verses that have strengthened my heart previously, that have helped me find rest, that have provided the assurance that I need.

Just a few of my favorites:
Psalm 71:14, Jude 24-25, Revelation 12:11, Isaiah 61, Isaiah 43:1.

There are many others – I’d love to hear some of your favorite go-to verses for when you’re needing to refocus.

I have a few books that are easy-reading, that help me to rest and quiet my heart, but also remind me that my time right then is dedicated to focusing on God.

The first is called An Angel, A Miracle, or Simply God at Work? It’s the true stories of a missionary, shared in an easy-to-read manner. He shares the stories, shares God’s work through the stories, and leaves it up to you as to what you would call it – intervention from an angel? a true miracle? or simply God at work in our world today?

The next is called When Words Won’t Come and this one is rather new to me. I’m still reading through it, but I’ve been so blessed by it. The author provides a short Scripture and just a few, small thoughts to meditate on. This book has been a tremendous blessing on the days when I’ve faced difficulty or have struggled to keep going.

These 3 ways to calm your emotions are easy to do, but can provide so much heart-relief. There are plenty of other great ways to regain control of wild emotions – a walk, quiet time by a fire, a favorite hot drink on a cool evening, time talking with a friend.

I’ve found that once I quiet my emotions, then the fear settles and it’s easier to face the realities of the situation for what they are – not for the blown-out-of-proportion image that my emotions have made them to be.

I’d love to hear how you purposefully quiet your emotions to regain control of a seemingly out-of-control situation. I pray these 3 tips are a blessing to you!

Blessings!

-Rebekah
Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast.

The word brings to mind a calm assurance, an unwavering faith, and unchanging character. Steadfast is a gentle power complimented by humble quietness.

A steadfast woman is a woman at peace.

This is my desire, friends, to be a woman who is steadfast in heart, faithful to Jesus and to her family.  I want to be the kind of steadfast woman who is Christ-confident rather than self-confident, who utilizes the gifts He’s given not for her own glory but for His glory.

Steadfast.

Last year the Lord kept bringing to mind the word Persevere, and if you follow along with this blog or the BCOT facebook page, then you know why I needed that word! We’ve been through a season of turmoil and change that still hasn’t quite settled.

Yet in the midst of all the chaos, I’ve found a more confident faith.

I’m not just referring to the recent reminders that Jehovah Jireh provides for all of our needs, but also to the understanding that He directs our paths in ways that don’t always make sense. What I’m learning is to trust His voice rather than letting doubt seep in through cracks chiselled by the questions of others and by my own fears.

So this year, my One Word is steadfast.

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

 

That word applies to so many areas of my life in which I wish to remain secure and consistent. So, I’d love to share with you these verses for a steadfast heart.

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast faith

Over these past few years of writing and speaking, my faith journey has taken many unexpected twists and turns. As I continue to grow in Christ, I want a steadfast faith, one that remains consistent no matter what challenges life throws my way.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps. 51:10 (NASB)

I want to remain confident in that work-in-progress promise found in Phil. 1:6.

Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

Steadfast Marriage

Faithful readers will already know that my husband and I have faced significant challenges in our marriage.  However, the Lord has been faithful to see us through many trials and to help us see the progress along the way. I find that I don’t panic anymore when conflicts come.  I’m no longer enslaved by the enemy’s lies that our marriage will never be any different or that we might as well give up trying to change it!

“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore you and make you strong firm, and steadfast.” 1 Pet. 5:10 (NIV)

Being steadfast in my marriage this year means that I won’t despair during difficult seasons, but I’ll have a calm assurance that we will come out on the other side not only intact but stronger!  It also means I’ll keep doing the good work of becoming a wife after God’s own heart.

Steadfast Parenting

Lately, the Lord has been convicting me that we need to keep persevering in our parenting methods even though our children are getting older and more self-sufficient. I want to be a steadfast parent who stays the course rather than one who gives in to laziness. My job is not yet finished! :)

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Gal. 6:9 (NASB)

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

Steadfast Writing

Being steadfast in the area of writing means I will aim to be more consistent, and that I will obey that still small voice when the Lord prompts me to sit and write.

“This hope we have as an anchor to the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil…” Heb. 6:19 (NASB)

It also means that I will grow in confidence in the voice He has given me so that I don’t make comparisons or look for outside approval. My heart’s desire is to write for an audience of One.

Steadfast Weight-loss Journey

(Sigh….) Many of you know I’ve been working toward some weight-loss goals since last year.  I only got rid of a little over 25 pounds, yet I persevered through injuries, illnesses, schedule changes, and the upheaval of changing ministries this past fall.  This progress was only possible through the power of Christ in me!

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” Ps. 57:7 (NASB)

This year  I’m aiming for another 50 pounds gone, an average loss of a pound a week.  So, being steadfast in this area means I’ll keep plugging away at healthy eating and exercise while trusting the Lord to take care of the results.

Steadfast Church-planting

Being steadfast as a church-planter means I’ll be secure enough to be a fool for Christ, willing to take risks because my faith is firm and my identity is secure.  It means I will keep doing the work the hard work, but I’ll trust Him for the results.

I can also be steadfast by pushing myself beyond my own comfort zone, especially when it comes to evangelism and by trusting the Lord to continue providing for our physical needs.

 

I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who does not fear the future but greets trouble with an unshakable faith (v.25).

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isa. 26:3 (NASB)

As this year progresses, I’m excited to see how the Lord continues to use the word steadfast to teach me.

Will you choose to be steadfast this year?

Jen :)

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Print it out, hang it where you will see it often. Or save it to your phone or tablet for easy access. Enjoy!

Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

 

 

Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wonder if there is any hope left for you? Hope for the Hurting Wife is a 30 day devotional journey written by two women who survived the muck and mire of marriage problems. Christian marriage|difficult marriage|encouragement for wives|hope for marriage|should I get a divorce|how to stay married| healthy marriage|trusting God with marriage|wife|husband|christian woman

Sharing with: Tell His Story

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife

 

 

Merry Christmas and My Final Grace and Truth

Merry Christmas, friends!

As I mentioned last week, this will be my final week as a co-host for Grace and Truth, but I encourage you to link up in the New Year with one of the other co-hosts.

I’ll still be here blogging away and joining with you all in the link-up!

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Jen :)

Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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My Favorite Life-changing Books

Obviously every good Christian girl would put the Bible at the top of a list of life-changing books. :) The Bible is first and foremost the ultimate resource for life in general, after all!

However, sometimes we read a book other than the Bible and understand spiritual truths in a whole new way. These are the type of books I’ve chosen for a list of life-changing books.

Each one has had an impact on how I understand and live out my Christian walk.  Some of them I am still learning from today!

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please visit Being Confident of This’s About page.  Thank you for supporting this blog!

Life-Changing Books

 

Life on the Edge

I read through this material when I was still in high school, and for me it was a life-changing book because it helped me plan for the future rather than be afraid of it. During those last few years of high school, students face enormous pressure to make important life decisions.

I highly recommend this book for young adults as they begin to face life on their own rather than under the safety of their parents’ wings!

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

This book is another pick from my high school years, but one that I actually still use. Although I grew up in a Christian home with parents who were faithful to teach me about God’s Word, I still didn’t have a solid grasp on the overall themes of the Bible and how the Old Testament connected to the New Testament (and why that’s important!).

Reading through The Stranger, which focuses on the overarching themes of the Bible from creation to Christ,  gave me a very clear picture of God’s love for and plan for mankind from the very beginning!  I now use it whenever I disciple others.  The Stranger will speak to unbelievers as well as those who have believed for many years!

The Circle Series by Ted Dekker

Every book lover surely includes some excellent fiction writing on a list of life-changing books!  As a lifelong book-lover, I’ve read an abundance of classic, secular, and Christian fiction, and one of my favorite authors of all is Ted Dekker. Each one of his riveting tales teaches readers a lesson about faith. But this series in particular stands out above the others.

The spiritual allegory that runs throughout Black, Red, White, and Green is rich and the vivid imagery helped me understand things like baptism and dying to sin/rising in Christ in a whole new way.  Most of all, I loved how the characters pursued one another and how they were pursued by the Christ-like archetype. The Circle Series is like the Chronicles of Narnia, but for adults! :)

And for the youth in your life, The Lost Books Series is a thrilling companion to the Circle Series!

First Place (Bible Study Series)

This life-changing book and subsequent series of devotionals helped me to see how letting food control my life is really a sin issue.  I also learned how to change the way I ate by learning to read nutritional information, cooking with better ingredients, etc.

But what I like most about this particular series is the focus on putting Christ first. Being healthy physically is important, but being healthy spiritually is more important!

Although the Bible is the ultimate resource for life, sometimes other books help us understand spiritual truths in a whole new way, like these life-changing books!  Find out which ones made the list.

Believing God (the Bible Study)

Although I don’t agree with everything this author claims, I can whole-heartedly recommend this bible study.  I actually read the workbook version of this book and really enjoyed the depth of bible study and Hebrew/Greek word study.

I call this book life-changing because it helped me realize that although I claimed to believe God and believe His character is true, I often failed to live that out. I wasn’t thinking and acting on my so-called belief. Instead I worried and mistrusted and misunderstood the hard things in life.

Trust Without Borders

This lovely devotional made for easy reading yet contained surprising depth.  Author Arabah Joy utilizes modern day parables to teach valuable lessons about trusting God.

She has a way of getting to the heart of the issue that leads to lots of light-bulb moments! I often re-read each day because each one was packed with so much good information to really chew on.

The Case for a Creator

Especially now, when Creationism is under constant attack, understanding the real scientific evidence for why we believe what we believe is key.  For that reason, The Case for a Creator is life-changing because it defines our very beginnings here on this beautiful planet.

The author takes the reader through a study of creation from the perspective of physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and so forth. One of the things I love most about this book is that when readers start to grasp the significance of why our Earth is positioned the way it is, and so forth, they can’t help but be awestruck by our Mighty God.

If you are an analytical thinker who loves facts and data, then this book is for you!

The Screwtape Letters

My second fiction pick, The Screwtape Letters, is a life-changing book because it opens our eyes to the very real spiritual warfare going on all around us.

I don’t think I ever realized before how sneaky our enemy is, especially in using good things to distract us from the best thing, our relationship with Christ.  Go read it, and anything else by C.S. Lewis, for that matter. :)

Messy Spirituality

I’m not sure I actually agree with all that this author had to say, either. Why include it on a list of life-changing books then, you ask? Because I’m not a fan of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  But more than that, this author challenged my view of what being a Christian looks like in a way my perfectionist nature didn’t like at first. :)

He also broadened my view of grace, took it out of my nice neat little box and made it, well…messy.  I never thought of myself as a self-righteous person before starting this book, but it was the catalyst for seeing my own sin in this area. I’d say that qualifies as a life-changing book!

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The Purpose Driven Life

Here’s another book whose author I don’t always agree with, especially in regards to some of his statements in more recent years. Nevertheless, The Purpose Driven Life had a profound impact on my understanding of my purpose in Christ.

You see, as a perfectionist, I was one of those good Christian girls who relied much more on performance than on grace without even realizing it.  Yet in my heart, I truly wanted to serve the Lord.

I just didn’t realize that worshiping and serving the Lord doesn’t always involve big things or ministries!

Sometimes serving the Lord is as simple as taking care of my family by washing the dishes or cooking a meal. That might sound silly, but realizing that I could do even those very small acts of obedience in service to the Lord gave me a satisfaction in life that I previously lacked.

Missionary Autobiographies

God at the Controls, God Planted Five Seeds, Peace Child, Through Gates of Splendor and others I can’t remember the titles of are also on my list of life-changing books.

As a child of overseas missionaries, these books helped me understand the great need for the Gospel to reach so many unreached nations.  They also helped me witness the power of God to use difficult life circumstances, even death, in the lives of His people to impact whole tribes and communities – talk about life-changing books!

Other Heroes of the Faith Autobiographies

The Confessions, The Hiding Place, and others.  There is nothing like hearing the story of a fellow believer’s faithfulness to challenge and boost our own faith!

I hope you find at least a few that you haven’t yet read from my favorite life-changing books.  Try out some new ones from the list and see how your faith is challenged.

And as with all things you read or hear, please check them against the truth of the Word!

Jen :)

Sharing with: A Little R and R,