YOUR EMOTIONS tell you a lot about your thoughts. Guess where your thoughts originate? Your thoughts come from your deeply held beliefs! When your beliefs line up with God’s Word, you experience a transformed life
You feel what you feel because you think what you think.
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What does this have to do with a transformed life? More than you might imagine. Your thoughts are the key to transformation.
In the short article, you’ll discover:
- Emotions “talk.”
- Change your thoughts, and you’ll change your emotions.
- Experiencing life transformation.
Emotions Say Something Important
Emotions “talk.” They reveal thoughts. When you know what you’re thinking you can ask yourself, Do my thoughts agree with God’s Word.
To see how this works, “hear” the thoughts in this parable where the rich man feels the emotion of fear of loss.
And he (Jesus) told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21, ESV)
In the parable, the rich man thought he’d have his crops a long time and told himself to relax, eat, drink, and be merry (actions). His thoughts and actions were based on the godless belief that pleasure is what matters, not God. His fearful emotion was an early signal to pay attention to his thoughts and change them as necessary.
What is one of your common thoughts?
- Life’s not fair?
- I’m a loser/ugly/stupid?
- If I had more money/status/popularity, then I’d be happy?
Ask yourself, Does my thought agree with Scripture?
Change Your Thoughts and Emotions Change
Years ago I counseled a Christian woman I’ll call Anna, who was sexually abused by a family friend at age 13. This family friend led a Christian camp, contributing to her twisted image of God. To her God was weak and uncaring, even evil.
She thought sex was a way to get what she wanted most: affection and love. She settled for the false love of naked embraces and murmured “I love you”s” from high school boys.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23, NIV
In time, Anna discovered that only God fulfills her deep need for true love. Her emotions changed from fear and sadness to peace and contentment. Her beliefs changed too as she believed God’s Word and applied its truths to her life.
Experience Life Transformation
Believing the Word of God is crucial to thinking in line with God’s thoughts. As you believe God and spend time reading and meditating on Bible verses, God renews your mind. He transforms your life. Check out Romans 12:2.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As God transforms your thinking, your actions change too.
- You thank God for your home rather than complaining about your old furniture.
- You pray more often because you want to draw near to God.
- You replace the habit of spending hours on Facebook with spending time with your kids.
As you take your eyes off your emotions and as your thoughts change, guess what happens? You begin to experience inner contentment, joy, hope, and peace. Who doesn’t want the abundant life?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10, ESV
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Is there life after divorce? Yes! There definitely is.
No one need to tell you divorce is a type of death. Sure, you have a pulse but your dreams cracked open, and you feel broken. Shattered.
“Will I ever be happy?” a recently divorced woman and mother of several adult children asked me.
“Yes, as God fits together the pieces, and as you apply God’s Word to your life, you’ll experience a joy that’s deeper than circumstantial happiness,” I replied. “Do you want to get better?”
She twisted the tissue in her hands. “Yes.”
In this article, I’ll share hope and help in three significant ways:
- Identifying the ultimate cause of divorce
- Giving encouragement from divorced Christian women.
- Three tips toward wholeness after divorce.
Ultimate Cause of Divorce
The ultimate cause of divorce is sin. Sin is selfish, prideful, and misaligned with God’s written Word, that is, the Bible. In the Bible, God gives two legitimate grounds for divorce
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- Unrepentant, sexual adultery. (Matthew 5:31, 19:9)
- Desertion by an unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)
Even though these are legitimate grounds for divorce, God always meant for marriage to be for life. In Malachi 2:16, God says he hates divorce because it’s borne from sin and brings destruction.
In what ways have you experienced the effects of destruction? Have you received care or condemnation from your Christian friends?
Remember, for Christians:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, ESV)
God doesn’t condemn you, dear friend, even though you and your ex sinned against each other. When God brings together two sinners in a marriage, guess what? They sin. God uses marriage to chip away at your character flaws–and his. Sometimes marital conflict seems unbearable, doesn’t it?
“I used to feel rejected,” Lana said. “That first year was unbearable. My sleep was awful and I couldn’t stop eating junk food.
A neighbor asked me over for coffee. This was a turning point.
“We talked and I began to see that it wasn’t just his fault. I was selfish too. My friend listened. I thank God for her.”
“I went back to bed after I got the kids off to school,” Annie shared. “Life seemed black after the divorce. What kept me going were my kids and going to church on Sundays.
“I thought I went to church for them so they could be in Sunday School, but
the worship songs melted by hardened heart.
“I began to look up again. It still hurts and money is still tight, but I have hope now.”
“My husband was into porn,” Jess said. “I didn’t know about his addiction when we married. We talked to the pastor. Justin would stop for a while then I’d catch him at it again. I felt so numb, I didn’t know what to do. He said he didn’t want to hurt me so he divorced me.”
“I guess the good that came out of it was getting counseling and growing closer to the Lord.”
Three Tips Toward Wholeness
- Learn conflict resolution. A main reason for bitterness in marriage is failing to work through problems. Commit to speaking the truth in love to family members, coworkers, and people at church and in your neighborhood. When you speak the truth in love, you communicate your feelings lovingly and work toward a solution.
- Figure out what kindles your anger and fear. As your identify the thoughts that prompt your emotions you can change them. “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:5).
- Cling to your identity in Christ. You are God’s beloved child. Get my 64-page eBook to savor the “5 Amazing Names God Calls You!”
Join the Conversation
How has divorced touched your life? Where did you find hope and healing?
AN OFFER: Get a free consultation! Great for any woman going through hurt or who has questions. Contact me now.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Did you know you can have a forward-focused, loving attitude about almost anything?
In this post you’ll learn how to improve your attitude by
- Choosing an attitude like Christ’s.
- Taking a very practical step.
Choose God’s Way
True happiness comes to you as you choose God’s plan for your life.
Choosing God’s way over your own isn’t necessarily easy, is it? It’s humbling! My friend Kara wants to serve women at her church but her offer has been rejected. This discourages Kara. She has adopted the attitude that God has another plan, a better plan. Kara has adopted a God-centered attitude.
Not my will, but yours be done: This is the heart’s cry of a believer who desires God’s plan for her life.
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Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:42, ESV)
Are you in. . .
Choose God’s way and you’ve won more than half the battle.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
Ready to learn HOW to improve your attitude?
Try this simple exercise. In a journal or on an index card, write:
“I choose to _________ (a godly action) so I will ___________ (a godly result).
Here a few ideas to get you started.
- I choose to deepen my friendships so I will have people to turn to when life gets tough.
- I choose to save an extra $100 a month so I will build savings and avoid using credit cards for surprise expenses like a car repair.
- I choose to talk with the kids about skipping their chores so I will stop holding in my anger toward them.
Do you see how a God-honoring attitude helps you move forward?
Your turn: I choose to ______________ so I will ___________________.
As you make God-honoring choices, you will rid the junk that blocks you. As John Piper said,
So the point is: Don’t stroll. Don’t meander. And don’t wander about aimlessly. Run as in a race with a finish line where everything hangs on the race.
May I encourage you to subscribe to my blog? When you subscribe, you receive a complimentary eBook.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
“Getting Up After a Fall” appeared first here on Biblical Counsel Coalition, which promotes the biblical counseling movement and builds relationships.
Remember the outdoor water game Slip ‘n Slide? To slide as fast as possible, you could place the thin, yellow plastic slide on a gentle hill. Then you run, jump on the slide, pick up speed, reach the end, and tumble into muddy grass. Then you ran back and did it again—and again.
Sinful choices can become a slippery slope too.
One sinful choice may slide into another, reminiscent of Psalm 1:1. Then the Christian may face a problem she helped create: a marital separation, an addiction, a lost job, anxiety, depression, bitterness. Her problem might cause enough angst to bring her to your counseling office, looking for relief.
But relief isn’t the real answer is it? Relief is among the world’s counterfeits for mankind’s greatest and truest need—the gospel.
In this short article, you’ll learn how to. . .
- give hope after a fall
- give help to get up and walk again.
Your counselee’s sin problem is an opportunity for you to give guidance for her Christian walk (Eph. 4:1-2, ESV).
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
No one is immune to the self-deception of thinking he or she can sidestep the slippery slope of sin. James writes,
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers (1:14-16, ESV).
I’m reminded of a time many years ago when I caught my young son with holiday treats in his fists and smeared on his shirt.
“Did you have permission to eat candy?” I asked.
“I didn’t eat any chocolate,” he blurted.
“What’s that on your shirt and in your hand?”
His forehead wrinkled. “Well, I didn’t mean to eat them!”
Giving Hope after a Fall
Your counselees need not remain in a muddy puddle of poor choices. Knowing one’s identity in Christ is powerful and hopeful. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can remember who they are in Christ, as described in Ephesians:
As you help your counselees remember who they are in Christ, you’ll give them hope to live out who they already are: God’s children. They also need the reminder that they are no longer identified by what they did and who they were–slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6-7).
In Christ they have been restored.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, your where justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11, NIV).
Remind your counselees of who they are in Christ and of what Christ did for them, and they will have hope after a fall.
Here is a suggested assignment to help counselees understand the blessings associated with being “in Christ”: Give your counselee the assignment of reading Ephesians 1 and listing, verse by verse, the words describing her new identity in Christ.
Giving Encouragement to Walk
To get up and walk in the ways of Christ, encourage your counselees with a masterful passage tucked in Titus:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).
Paul wrote the epistle to Titus, encouraging him on several counts, including the truth that we are saved for good works (not by good works). Remind your counselees that they can get up and walk in God’s strength because the same gospel that saved them also sanctifies them. As Titus 2:12 underlines, grace trains them:
- To renounce ungodliness and worldly passions
- To live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives
Trained by grace, your counselees can say “No” to sin and live a godly life, for in his kindness and mercy, Jesus cleansed them by his blood and gave them new life so that they might display good works.
Consider these verses from Titus:
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works” (2:7a).
“A people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:14).
“Ready for every good work” (3:1).
“Careful to devote themselves to good works” (3:8).
Just as your counselees fall down the slippery slope of sin, they can make better choices by God’s grace. To do this, help them remember who they are in Christ and encourage them. . .
(1) to renounce ungodliness through confession and repentance;
(2) to live a godly life marked by good works.
They do not need to wonder if this is possible, because “Jesus Christ … gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13-14).
Join the Conversation
How have you sought to teach counselees the critical doctrine of their identity in Christ?
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
In the Internet age, counseling has a new look. I’ve counseled people over Skype as far away as Tanzania, New Zealand, and Cambodia, and as close as ten miles from my office.
Advantages of Internet Counseling
Here are a few groups groups who access biblical counseling over the Internet:
- People in remote areas
- People without access to biblical counseling in their area, such as a ranch in the middle of Montana
- The home-bound
- Mothers of very young children
- Counselees in dicey weather (thunderstorms, snow storms) who usually come in the office
Excerpts from Plugged In
My friend Marie Notcheva (who also is listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here on my site) interviewed me for her book Plugged In: Proclaiming Christ in the Internet Age (Pure Water Press) and shared some of my stories of counseling in the Internet age in her book. She wrote:
Lucy has done premarital counseling with a Hong Kong real-estate heiress, counseled a former gang member in the a U.S. city, and helped numerous women around the world walk more closely with God.
CONVENIENCE. “It’s convenient, and the Internet has opened doors to many people in nations without access to biblical counseling,” she points out. She has counseled women in Cambodia, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Australia, as well as the US.
WORKING WITH A LOCAL CHURCH. One dramatic turn-around happened in the life of a West Coast woman and mom of three small children, who had to flee from an abusive husband. “Julie” had heard about Lucy through a mutual friend. Lucy first heard Julie’s cry for help over the phone. Soon they began regular telephone counseling sessions.
“We had a lot of good conversations, in which I was able to get a lot of details about the abuse from her husband,” Lucy notes. In an emergency situation, Julie reached a point where she had to take the children and flee the home. She went to the Midwest, where she had family, and commenced Skype counseling with Lucy while getting involved in a local church.
The combination of online counseling and involvement in a local church was what greatly aided Julie in applying the Scriptures to her life – and turning it around.
ANONYMITY. Lucy tells the story of “Beth,” a young woman who joined a Chicago gang for a sense of belonging. Following a horrific gang initiation (essentially gang-rape), unimaginable violence and sexual abuse followed. Beth would point the camera down, at her feet when she divulged these details to Lucy. Her shame was so great that she would not show her face, even through a computer monitor. At the same time, however, Beth desperately wanted someone to hear her story – and talking to Lucy in this way was the only way to get it out.
At the time, she could not tell anyone at her church. The subject was so sensitive that it demanded distance, until Beth was able to work through the issues of neglect and sin that had affected her childhood and adolescence. Beth now attends a gospel-preaching church and has grown greatly there. “I see this as a ‘graduation’ of sorts—seeing counselees plugged into a church body,” Lucy says.
For more on using technology, see Marie’s book, Plugged In: Proclaiming Christ in the Internet Age (Pure Water Press).
An Opportunity for You
Would you like to know more about counseling with me by Skype? Please send me a message. I offer a free confidential consultation so you can ask questions and share concerns.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,