Desire. . .does your desire match God’s desire for you? The more your desire aligns with God’s, the happier your life. Especially when you deal with an evil like pornography. This article by Heart2Heart Counselor Karen Gaul appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.
Years ago I hated olives. I didn’t like anything about them, and one day my cousin told me that if I ate seven in a row that I would not only acquire a taste for them but would actually like them. So I rose to the challenge. He was so right! I shoved seven into my mouth (not all at once) with great difficulty and a few weeks later I wanted an olive, and the rest is history.
Unfortunately I don’t have to do something seven times before it becomes something that I really like. I wish it were so because we would be spared much trouble.
I was in a workshop with a well-known Christian artist, and he shared that while he was leading a men’s Bible study group in his church he came to learn that several of the men struggled with internet porn. Wanting to understand them better he decided to check out a website.
He did that once and he forever has wished he had not done so. It left a picture in his head. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. Vivid pictures leave a mark on your brain. What we put into our minds we do have to deal with.
What the Bible Says About Desire
“In the last days people will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).I think we are living in those days. Pleasure ads are all around us. We are encouraged to find it and hold on to it. We are told it is our right to feel good. We don’t need to work at desiring it.
Is it wrong to desire pleasure? Absolutely not. God delighted in His Creation, God delights in His Son. John Piper wrote a book called The Pleasures of God. He writes that God finds pleasure in all He does.
Is it wrong to want pain and suffering gone? Again absolutely not! When Jesus was in the Garden He asked for His “cup” to be removed. Paul asked threee times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed. The Psalmist frequently asked for his trouble to be gone.
In the garden Adam and Eve desired God, they were intimate with Him, vulnerable with each other. It was a time of perfect and pure pleasure and then the snake subtly brought a new thought. They could find pleasure elsewhere, so Eve looked at the apple and it looked amazing, so she took it and ate of it. She was enticed to find her fulfillment (he
r pleasure) in something other than God.
When then does desire for pleasure go awry? It goes awry when we want the fullness of pleasure now!
It goes awry when desire gives birth to a need and the need gives birth to a right or demand. James 1 says the temptation when conceived gives birth to sin.
It goes awry when we don’t know how to handle and deal with our trouble or pain or past.
It goes awry when we buy into the lie that pornography will satisfy.
It goes awry when we see it as a normal part of our existence rather than self-seeking.
It goes awry when what I want is more important than what God wants.
It may have started innocently enough You may have looked twice at a pop up on the computer, you may have accidentally connected with someone on Facebook, maybe you took too long a gaze at a magazine counter, maybe as a child someone shared something with you that you were too young to see, maybe you had an abusive experience when you were young and although you hated the abuse your body betrayed you by responding to the touch, maybe you were just curious. This list is endless as to how you were enticed.
Again we are creatures who were made to find pleasure, but. . .
Pornography promises release from pain, release from tension, a different focus, pleasure because it always will lead to masturbation. I wish I could say this was a male problem, but more and more it is also a temptation for women. I wish I could say it would satisfy but it won’t. It will leave you filled with shame and guilt and worse.
It will rule you. It is a horrid and heavy chain. It is done in secret, it brings with it lies, it leaves a path of broken homes and relationships.
One glance and Eve was done. It’s not like you have to look seven times as in eating olives, but the end result is the same you will want more.
The bite had Adam and Eve. . .
thrown out of paradise, out of Eden,
out of the place where pleasure with God was a daily experience,
Friend, pornography will not deliver either. If you are already involved in pornography you already know this. Find help. Make the call. Your relationships will be blessed if you do, your walk with God will be restored if you do, and you will open yourself up to experience the pleasures of God if you do.
Jesus came to set the captive free so if you are thinking “I am too stuck, I have tried it all, I have been involved for too long” hear this…Jesus came to give release to the captive, to give freedom from bondage, to give joy and fulfillment, to heal and restore relationships.
He is able! His love and grace and restoring ability is ALWAYS greater than our sin.
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Romans 5:20
Rejection! You’ve faced it. So have I. Hasn’t every woman?
Isn’t it wonderful to know God accepts you, sweet sister? Acceptance is daylight to rejection’s black. When feelings of rejection creep up, you could be in the middle of a party and feel isolated, cut off, abandoned.
This short, 2-minute video speaks to the hurting heart and rejection. I have something to say afterward. After you watch, please read on. Thanks. 🙂
Do you want to overcome the pain of rejection? Do you want to be heard? Do you want a God-honoring solution?
Biblical counseling uncovers the root issues of the feelings of rejection (and other difficulties) and provides practical, God-honoring solutions.
Isn’t it amazing that God empowers you to live full and godly lives that please him?
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
Do you want everyday victory over rejection and follow Christ’s way?
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it hat no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8
I specialize in counseling women and families who want an action plan to get well. The problems they bring include:
Like you I’ve experienced pain. In Christ I’ve found healing. My healing was not complete in a day. I immersed myself in the Bible, praise music, and prayer. I now have peace in my circumstances and know what to do when I trip into an emotional pothole of misery.
Are you ready to find freedom from the feeling of rejection? Contact me for a complimentary 20-minute introductory consult by phone. I’d love to answer your questions and together decide whether biblical counseling is a good fit for you.
I’m an experienced, certified biblical counselor called by God to counsel women and families who want practical, Christ-centered help and hope. I also counsel female ministry leaders, who often struggle with problems too. Read more about me.
Counseling hope to the heart is God’s purpose for me. Do you need someone to listen to your story and find biblical solutions to your hurt? Please contact me today.
First, become aware. This morning you opened your eyes. Couldn’t you marvel that you have eyes to open? Do not take your eyes for granted.
They let you see. . .
. . .faces, the beautiful faces, of everyone around you. The young, the old. Those wrinkles tell stories, amazing stories, stories you need to hear for they will enrich you and you will bless the teller of the stories as you listen with your ears, with your eyes.
Second, listen well. Listen to children’s laughter and the coo of the mourning dove and the sound of the crickets as each runs the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom wing, holding its wings up like an accoustical sail. Nature’s orchestra plays as stars shine silently, diamond speckles on black velvet.
As you become aware, as you listen well, the attitude of gratefulness blossoms within you like a rose in winter.
You Need Gratefulness
You need gratefulness; gratefulness unfurls your petals.
Without gratefulness you are cold and dry and indifferent and alone. And petals ran on snow, first one drops, then another and another and another and another and
you are naked and scared, so very scared.
But. . .you can choose gratefulness. You need gratefulness. When you are grateful, you become alive — more alive than you’ve been in your entire life — your petals bright red like cranberries.
Through the root you drink in life-giving water and you thrive because you are grateful for God, the earth he created, and the sun, the petals, and the thorns.
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,or because of these surpassingly great revelations.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 2 Corinthians 12:6-8, NIV
Don’t you need gratefulness to embrace the gift of today, whatever today brings?
How Do You Become Grateful?
Very simply choose to have the attitude of gratitude every day, every moment of every day. Isn’t this easy to say, hard to do?
It’s so easy to complain and to let discontentment become discouragement, even despair. With God’s help, you can turn it around. I know you can because He can.
To grow gratefulness, may I suggest a few ideas?
Make a plan. It’s been said when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your plan needs to fil your personality. It needs a clear goal and process. A few years ago Ann Voskamp counted 1,000 gifts. She jotted them on paper. In the thanking she changed.
Record your gratefulness.
Write: Jot a word or phrase on slips of paper kept in a clear mason jar or on small stones scattered on a platter or on lines in a journal.
Photograph: A new snowfall? Photograph it. Friends gathered around a table? Another photo. A cardinal? Capture the beauty.
Draw or doodle: With colored gel pens or Ticonderoga pencils, sketch words, pictures, and squiggles to each reason for gratefulness.
3. Check in. Every week read the paper slips, the stones, or your doodles. This reminds you of your reasons for gratefulness and encourages you to stick with your plan.
As you can see, today is not just another day. It is a gift.
Does anger sometimes get the best of you?If we’re honest, we’d all admit to flinging pointy words at a loved one or clamming up. Death by silence, right?
Anger is an emotion you experience when you’ve been wronged, real or perceived.
In this short article, you’ll learn–
Three commons lies.
A practical and doable solution.
Like you, I’ve believed lies about anger. When I was age 3, my mom snapped an embarrassing photo of me. My bottom lip protruded from Chicago to Shanghai, my blue eyes glared. Back then I believed the lie that the best way to handle anger was to not talk about it.
Then a couple years ago, when our family’s health insurance increased a chunk a money each month, I complained to my husband who said, “It could be a lot worse,” then resumed watching TV.
The insensitive clod, I thought.
I responded to his indifference with more quiet anger. Did you know this emotion ranges from mild irritation to frustration to self-pity to rage?
Lie 1: Anger Is Sinful
Anger is a God-given emotion. It is neither morally right nor wrong. Consider Jesus, fully God and fully man, who never sinned. He became angry at the sight of money changers in the temple.
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13, NIV
Some thirty times in Psalms the word anger is used, often referring to God’s anger. God’s anger is always righteous. Righteous anger is holy.
Shepherd-King David implored God regarding his enemies:
Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. Psalm 69:24, ESV
Lie 2: Punch a Pillow
The way you express this emotion determines whether it becomes sin, or a violation of God’s will. Ephesians 4:26 says,
In your anger do not sin.
This means it is possible for you to angry without sinning. But let’s be honest: You and I almost always express this emotion by acting out loudly and destructively–yelling, slamming doors, using fists, name-calling, and punching pillows. Or. . .
When you believe that life should be fair, and you’ve been mistreated, you’ll probably think your anger is justified, even good. You may believe that expressing it–loudly or quietly–is your right.
Second, exchange your wrong belief with a right belief. This is was a right belief sound like.
Right belief: “God is in control of all my circumstances so I can trust him and give him my rights. I believe that when I act upon the truth of the Bible, no matter how I feel, God will bring about a good result. I choose to allow my anger to motivate me to do what God wants me to do.”
Finally, look upon anger as a type of warning signal. It tells you something is amiss. Recognizing you feel anger helps you stomp lies about it and choose to handle it well.
May I Pray for You?
Please help me when I feel angry. Let it be a motivator to speak the truth in love to the person who has wronged me or to simply accept a situation that seems unfair. Give me patience and deeper faith. Amen.
Did you know that I offer a complimentary phone consultation to women who are hurting? To ask for his consultation, please contact me and we’ll schedule it. No obligation. 🙂
Your language matters! The words you say indicate what’s going on in your heart. And when you replace your words with biblical language, you can make significant progress. Observe how Heart2Heart Counselor Suzanne Holland listens to her counselee’s language and helps her find victory. Suzanne’s article appeared first here and is used with permission.
A counselee I was seeing for depression and anger issues once had this response when I asked her how her week went:
I really messed up this time. I yelled at my kids, and they didn’t even deserve it! I was so irritated with their behavior that I just snapped and started screaming.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was blowing it, but I couldn’t stop. I was just so mad.
She continued to describe the incident, sharing with me about what happened when her husband came home:
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt really bad about my slip-up. When my husband got home, I was irritable and snappy with him, because I was just so mad at myself. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
I went to bed depressed and cried myself to sleep. Sometimes I think I’ll never get this temper under control!
The Language of Truth
As I listened to my counselee, I was making notes about the words she had chosen to describe her actions.
Many times, the language our counselees use to describe their problems can give us a clue as to why they are not finding victory. I’ll explain what I mean by sharing with you the questions I asked my counselee about her word choices, using the quotes above as an example.
I really messed up this time.
Questions: What does that mean? What is the biblical word for “messed up”?
Did my counselee make a mistake when she yelled at her kids? If I “mess up,” that might mean I forgot to carry a number in my checkbook, or I bumped the curb when I turned the corner.
Yelling and screaming at your kids is not messing up. Yelling and screaming at your kids (or anyone else) is an uncontrolled outburst of wrath, and it is sin.
I was so irritated with their behavior that I just snapped and started screaming.
Questions: What kind of behavior were you expecting? What entitles you to have what you expect? What is the reason that the behavior was not brought under discipline before it got to that point? Was everything calm and cool before you “just snapped,” or were there warning signs that you were becoming angry, which you chose to ignore?
Language Reveals a Deeper Problem
When someone tells me they are irritated with something, it’s a sure sign that they believed they were entitled to something else.
Any sense of entitlement is an attitude of pride. Also, at least in parenting, behavior that reaches the point where Mom wants to scream is usually a behavior that should have been addressed much sooner. This is often the result of distraction or just plain laziness on mom’s part.
With very rare exceptions, no one “just snaps.” There are always thoughts and warning signs leading up to a sinful outburst of anger. Mom may choose to ignore or stuff them, but they are there, and it is a decision she makes to either address or ignore them.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was blowing it, but I couldn’t stop. I was just so mad.
Question: Was there an unseen force that took over your body and made you keep yelling and screaming?
This may sound facetious, but it gets the point across quickly. Obviously, this part of her report is a lie, whether or not she sees it. Of course, she had a choice to stop screaming, even in the midst of her angry outburst. Her decision to continue led to her sin.
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt really bad about my slip-up.
Questions: How does the Bible teach us to express sorrow when we have hurt someone? Where in the Bible do people say they are sorry? What is the biblical word for ‘slip-up’?
When my husband got home, I was irritable and snappy with him, because I was just so mad at myself. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
Questions: What do you think is the reason your apologies didn’t help your mood?
This is where we will begin to discuss the difference between messing up and sinning, between apologizing and repenting. She went to bed depressed (sorrowful without hope), and rightly so! There is no hope in apologizing for a mess-up. There is, however, great hope in repenting of sin and receiving forgiveness!
Changing Your Language–Wow!
The point of dissecting these few sentences is to show you the importance of using biblical language when you address counseling issues. Most counselees aren’t even aware that the language they use to describe their sin makes a difference in whether or not they will overcome it.
Let’s rephrase my imaginary counselee’s report, to see if it makes a different impact:
I really sinned this time. I yelled at my kids, and they didn’t even deserve it! I was so entitled and prideful about their behavior that I just ignored the warning signs that I was becoming sinfully angry, and made a decision to start screaming.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was grieving the Lord, but I held fast to my decision and exercised my will to continue. I was just so sinfully angry!
And about her interaction with her husband…
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt extreme guilt about my sin. When my husband got home, I was prideful and sinfully angry with him, because I had not received forgiveness for my sin. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
I went to bed sorrowing without hope, and indulged in self-pity. Sometimes, I think I’ll never get this sinful anger under control!
Biblical Language Pierces the Heart
Do you see how using biblical language shines a very bright light on sin, and makes it crystal clear what needs to happen to bring about change? My counselee certainly did!
As she learned to use biblical language to describe her temptations and sins, her heart was more readily pierced, and she began to hate even the idea of knowingly sinning in these ways. One thing she said in this quote was probably true: Thinking and speaking the way she was about it, she likely would never have overcome it.
I will continue to sin, apologize, and feel bad forever if I don’t understand and apply the truth of Scripture to my behavior.
Are there areas of your life, or perhaps your counselees’, where you think using more consistently biblical language could help in overcoming a pattern of sinful response?
Reply in the comments, and let’s talk about it!
An Offer from Lucy
Are you struggling? I invite you to sign up for a 15-minute phone consultation — it’s free — to ask questions and discover if biblical counseling is right for you. (We can Skype no matter where you live or meet in person in greater Chicago.) Contact me.
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The term election stress disorder describes the worry-anxiety-fear that beleagers voters every four years. It was coined by a psychologist who described the phenomenon that plagues many Americans this Election Day.
How Common Is Election Stress?
Indeed, America is afraid.
American Psychological Association researchers surveyed 3,500 adults in August and found that 55% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans said the election is a “very significant” or “somewhat significant” source of stress. Those who use social media are more likely than those who don’t to say the election is a source of stress (54% versus 45%, respectively).
America is heavy with anxiety and distrustful of the other side. Friends are unfriending Facebook friends. Marriages are being tested. Many Americans won’t speak the name “Hillary” or “Trump” fearing name-calling and rejection.
So how pervasive is your election stress?
In Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur, he describes anxiety, at its core, “an appropriate response in light of the circumstances–very different from the cares and concerns in life that cause people to attend to business in a responsible way.”
In other words, if you have worry-anxiety-fear about the election, it sounds like you have election stress.
Telltale Signs of Election Stress
The signs of election stress include heart palpitations, sweaty palms, loss of appetite, insomnia, and a doomed feeling.
Physically, it is felt reaction to a perceived danger. When you fear danger, your body automatically pumps out numerous hormones including adrenaline. Once in your bloodstream, your pupils dilate, your muscles tense, and your heartbeat and breathing quicken.
Did you know election stress affects your thoughts too?
Call it worry. It is the wrong way to handle election stress or any stress. Worry is dwelling negatively on a trouble. It is ruminating on the worst.
All this worry leads to headaches, digestive pain, light-headedness, tingling in your extremities, even chest pain brought on by stress. (Please note, if you suspect a heart attack or other medical emergency, call 911 immediately.)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
TAKE-AWAY: Nothing can separate you from Christ’s love. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Think about this truth when tempted to worrry.
Third, choose the right perspective.
Earth isn’t your home. This election is important but pales in comparison with the Most Important. That is, Jesus Christ.
Rick Thomas compares your temporary home on earth to a vacation. He spells it out like this:
I go on a vacation for a short period of time.
I act responsibly while I’m on vacation.
I’m fully aware our vacation location is not our home.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
You and I long for our permanent home: heaven. We are citizens of heaven!
TAKE-AWAY: Remember your true home on Election Day.
May I pray for us?
By the power of the Holy Spirit, quiet our hearts as we fix our eyes on Jesus. You command us not to be anxious about food, clothing, or anything else including who will sit in the oval office after this election. Keep us aware that you are on heaven’s throne and completely in charge.
You are not stressed over this election, so why should we? May we praise you today and always and be filled with your peace. May we respect those in authority as we seek to live a life that honors you. Amen.