5 Reasons the Resurrection Brings Hope

ressurection imageAs Easter Sunday approaches, have you wondered about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How does the resurrection bring you hope?

Hope is something God knows all of us needs. Aren’t we in a world of hurt? From hearing of terrorist bombings to learning of a neighbor’s divorce, you and I are tempted to become discouraged, aren’t we?

If the hurt is close to home, we may respond with sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions.

Thank God for Easter and the hope the resurrection brings!  

While Holy Thursday recalls the Last Supper and Good Friday remembers the crucifixion and death of Christ, Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection.

We have peace with God

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have gained

access by faith 

into this grace

in which we now stand.

Romans 5:1-2

Here are 5 reasons the resurrrection brings hope to followers of Jesus.

1. The Resurrection Means…We’re Justified

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.  (Romans 4:25)

Incredible, isn’t it? To imagine that Jesus dare to die and rise again. . .ffor us. . .me. . .you.

By his resurrection, we who follow Christ are justified. Justification is a Bible word that means to “to be put right with.” According to Scripture, all of us are “objects of wrath” because we break God’s law and thus deserve eternal death. But God has a glorious and gracious plan of redemption.

Jesus!

God laid our punishment on Jesus on the cross. Why? So we could be justified before him. The resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence.

Luke 5:32

2. The Resurrection Defeated Death

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:9)

Truly free.

Yes, death is the just punishment for sin. But wonderfully, Jesus rose from the dead because the grave could not hold him. Death had no mastery over him. Therefore, you and I need not fear death. We also do not need to fear eternal punishment.

Truly loved.

Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25

3. The Resurrection Means…Union with Jesus 

 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)

God loves us higher and wider and deeper than we can possibly imagine.

By our faith, you and I received the righteousness of Christ because we are united to him. This means that when God looks at us, he does not see our unrighteousness, but the righteousness of Christ.

Now, as new creations in Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we can walk in the way of love.

His grace was given us in Christ Jesus

before the beginning of time. 

2 Timothy 1:9

4. The Resurrection Gives…Living Hope

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

We Christ followers have great hope. Not a false hope. Not well wishes. Rather, we have a trustworthy hope based on faith. We have been justified before God. We are no longer his enemies headed for hell.

We are blessed, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing eternal life. Also, we can now live according to our identity as children of God. As the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Colossae,

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you. 2 Corinthians 9:8

5. The Resurrection Means…We’ll Be Raised Too

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor.15:21-22)

Jesus is described in Scripture as the firstfruits of the resurrection from the dead. This signals that his resurrection is a precursor to that of all believers.

Christians will enjoy the resurrected life just like Christ did, with glorified bodies raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). We suffer in this life with pain and illnesses. Indeed, in the counseling office, we comfort those who have been sinned against as well as the grieving.

But in the life to come, you and I will not suffer. Truly we will enjoy our life in Christ forever and ever.

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)

He has risen. He has risen indeed.

Amen and then some.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

A-to-Z Identity List: Your Tuesday Tool


list“A-to-Z Identity List” is this month’s Tuesday tool.

When you tell yourself the truth of who you are in Christ, your life undergoes a beautiful transformation.

“I am Chosen by God”…”I am Made to worship”…”I am Victorious over sin” — these A-to-Z truths and others come from the Word of God. And they will encourage you to stop false beliefs and start seeing through the lens of scripture. Then as you embrace them, healing follows.

Get the Most from the A-to-Z List

Here are two excellent ways to delve into your God-given identity and get the most out of the A-to-Z list.

1) Once daily look up the scriptures for one of the words, until you’ve completed all 26.

2) Read through the entire list of words. Circle 3 to 5 that are meaningful to you. Then in a journal, personalize the verses. Example: For Lamentations 3:22-23, you might personalize it by jotting down,

God loves me and has great compassion for me.

I don’t have to let trials rock me because God is always faithful to me.

Journaling God’s truth is among the best helps for my counselees and for me.

A-to-Z List

Accepted–John 15:15; Ephesians 1:6

Born Again–John 3:5-7

Chosen, confident–Ephesians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 3:3-4

Direct Access to God–Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 2:5

Established by God–Genesis 1:27; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Forgiven—Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 32:1; Isaiah 43:25-26!

God’s Child—John 1:12; 1 John 3:1

Heir with Christ–Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29

Immersed in Jesus Christ–Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4

Justified—1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-8

Kept for eternity–John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6

Loved–John 3:16, 15:13; Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 3:12

Made to worship–Ecclesiastes 3:10-11; John 4:24

New creation in Christ–2 Corinthians 5:17

Optimistic–Joshua 1:9; Romans 8:28-29

Peace—John 14:27; Philippians 4:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Quietness of Soul–Psalm 46:10, 62:5, 131:2

Rescued from Satan’s domain–Colossians 1:13

Secure, sealed – 1 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9

Temple of God–1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:1

Unique–Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:14

Victorious over sin–1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4

Whole, no longer incomplete–James 1:2-4, 1 John 4:12

Xtra valued by God–Psalm 17:8, Deuteronomy 32:10

Yoked with Jesus–Matthew 11:28-29

Zealous for the things of God–Revelation 3:19; Titus 2:14

A Freebie for You

Would you like an attactive handout of the A-toZ Identity in Christ list? Simply ask for it. Contact me now and type “Send me A-to-Z Identity List in the subject line. This list was inspired by my fellow counselors at Biblical Counseling Center.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Best Lesson God Showed Me

lessonThe best lesson God taught me also turned my life around.

I confess I had trusted in by own abilities. And why not? I knew everything, right? As God rescued me from me and my pride, he taught me a lesson in three parts:

1. Believe God is who he says he is: good, in control, loving, just, merciful.

2. Believe what he says about you: valuable, significant, blessed.

3. Believe that you have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys, but God has defeated him.

Even as a Christian I leaned toward self-dependence, then the hard hit. One Saturday morning many years ago, awful memories of past abuse flooded my mind. So I sobbed from a sacred place in my soul at the time God chose.

This star-flinger, this day-numberer, this God drew me toward him, beginning with the lesson of who God is. 

Lesson 1: God Is Who He Says He Is

Among the most beautiful bible verses is the one where God describes his character. I wrestled with whether to believe it is true or not true. Here’s the verse:

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,’The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ Exodus 34:6-7

Compassionate, gracious, slow ot anger, great love and faithfulness, and forgiving–did I believe this of God? Do you?

If you’ve been hurt by someone who should have protected you, you may struggle believing these truths. You are not alone. Others struggle as you do.

In fact, the counselors listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory on my website biblically and lovingly counsel all of God’s healing hope to their counselees. Why not check out the directory for someone near you or who meets by Skype?

In addition to daily Bible reading, I journaled, exchanging the lies I believed for the truth. It looked a lot like this. My journaling and listening to gospel-centered music also helped got me to the place where I believe God is who he says he is. What helps you?

Lesson 2: I Am Who God Says I Am

God says all of his daughters are chosen. Before you took your first baby step, before you were conceived, before God fashioned the heavens and the earth, he chose you.

The moment you believed on Jesus as your Savior, your old self died. You became a new creation. You are in Christ and Christ is in you.

This “in” means you have a place as a member of Christ‟s body, vitally united with him. The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus — yes, the heart of the gospel — made possible your true identity. God now sees you as blameless because his Son is blameless, having paid the ultimate price to conquer sin and death. Being “in Christ” is the true you.

Does knowing you are chosen change the way you think and feel about yourself? about God?

Lesson 3: God Defeated the Enemy

Can you guess the big lie Satan wants you to believe? It’s NOT that you’re not good enough, though he tempts you to believe that one too. It’s NOT you’re unsuccessful or unattractive or a total mess-up or a waste of space, though you and I have fallen for some of these lesser lies, haven’t? 

Can your believe I bought the lie that I was a defect? Have you?

This isn’t the big lie either. It destroyed my peace, though. God — through life-giving Bible truths and uplifting Christian music as well as counseling — showed me the truth: that I and every believer in Christ is his precious child and God also revealed the big lie at the core of my shame lie.

So what’s the big lie?

The Big Lie Is. .

The big lie Satan tempts you to believe is the same one Adam and Eve ate up in the Garden: God is holding back, that he couldn’t care less, that he’s not. . .good.

And the Truth Is. . .

Satan is defeated!

From Life Lesson to Action

As I embraced this three-part lesson and intentially put God first, he revealed a purpose for my life: to help Christian women know that they are valued by Jesus, who wants to heal them. Yes, to counsel hearts to hope! Still, I felt afraid and told God so.

Our conversation went like this.

“Lord, I don’t know how to begin.”

“Do not worry, Lucy.  I’ll show you.”

“How will I know it’s you?”

“You will. The Holy Spirit who’s in you will confirm my words. You’ll know.”

“I don’t think I’m ready for this, Lord,” I said. “What if I mess up?”

“Trust me.”

That’s where we left things. God said trust. I sat there, speechless. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV

How about you? Where has God changed your thinking? Are you ready for deeper healing?

An Offer!

lucy moll from my heartAre you tired of living a less-than life? Why not contact me
to set up a no-cost introductory phone consultation? Remember, God loves you, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart, 

Emotional Abuse: Hope and Help for Weary Wives

emotional abuseEmotional abuse destroys a marriage. Sometimes it leads to physical abuse. Today’s guest blogger is Lilly Park, an assistant professor of biblical counseling at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, IN, provides hope an help to wives. This article (Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage) first appeart on the Biblical Counseling Coalition website and is used with permission.

This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.

Good Marriages, Broken Marriages

I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. How good (and hope-filled!) it is to see real life examples, especially at a time when marriages are being attacked from pornography, homosexuality, and cohabitation. I’ve also seen broken marriages and emotionally abusive relationships, which has taught me a lot about faith.

The women I’ve met believed in submitting to their husbands and tried to do so. At some point, however, they began to change negatively without knowing it. They isolated themselves. They questioned themselves. They started to make excuses for their husbands’ sins.

What do you do when your husband emotionally abuses you?

Some might say that you should continue to submit to his leadership, pray for him, and trust God. Is it acceptable to seek help and possibly even separate, if necessary? When I think of marriage, “protection” is one of the concepts that comes to mind. Perhaps that’s why emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter, in marriage saddens me in a different way.

My desire is that God might use this blog post to encourage those who are weary, to challenge those who are not trusting God or seeking counsel, and to provide some help to those who are not sure how to help women in emotionally abusive relationships. I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.

Bible Doesn’t Label ‘Emotional Abuse’

The Bible doesn’t use the label “emotional abuse,” but it does prohibit it.

First, we are not to curse people who have been created in the image of God (James 3:9).

Second, emotional abuse violates the two greatest commandments: love God and love others as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40).

Third, emotional abuse violates God’s design for marriage where the husband lovingly leads and the wife lovingly submits (Ephesians 5:21-33).

Fourth, it violates Christian living by denying yourself (Mark 8:34) and speaking wholesome words (Ephesians 4:29).

Fifth, it displays pride and a lack of fear of God, which leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). A husband who commits emotional abuse deceives himself to be a king who deserves glory, honor, and praise.

Sixth, emotional abuse is betrayal to God and people by trying to be like God and deceiving others.

Nature of Emotional Abuse

A common term found in the definition of emotional abuse is control. Emotional abuse occurs when someone tries to control you through actions or words. They might not physically hurt you, but they know how to instill fear through intimidation and manipulation.

If emotions are produced by your evaluations or perceptions,[1] then emotional abuse involves hurting how you view yourself and others. Over time, you negatively view yourself. You might question yourself, blame yourself, or not see the severity of the situation. You become a weary person, trying to please your husband’s unreasonable demands but rarely is he pleased.

Emotional abuse is more deceitful than physical abuse.

The women I’ve met endured emotional abuse for years and no one knew about it. They didn’t even know until they finally talked to someone. (Of course, the same could happen with physical abuse.) Emotional abuse is unacceptable and sinful. It is slowly killing a person. It is also not the same as occasional arguments in marriage; it occurs frequently.

Common Themes in Emotional Abuse

Anger. Emotionally abusive anger is a sin (Colossians 3:8). In this case, it reveals a desire for control. For example, a husband sends texts or calls throughout the day from work and gets angry if the wife responds too slowly. Or, he gets angry if she disagrees with him.

Manipulation/hypocrisy. This sin is revealed in different ways:

  1. The husband is a different person in front of a church leader and others. He knows how to blame the wife.
  2. The husband starts crying in the counseling session and convinces the pastor or friends. Then, everything that the wife had shared in the past carries little weight. After all, he cried. The wife trusts people even less.
  3. The husband meets with other family and friends to win them over.

Fear/Threats. In some cases, this involves finances or child custody if the couple is in the process of a divorce.

Blameshifting/Denial. “If you did what I told you to do, then I wouldn’t have been angry.” “When did I say that to you?”

Isolation. The wife spends less time with family and friends because her husband does not want to see them or another argument happened.

Minimizing the problem. The husband says that the wife is exaggerating. Sometimes, the wife minimizes the problem. Another instance is when the person trying to help is deceived or doesn’t know how to help. “Every marriage has problems.” “Both the husband and wife have issues.”

In-laws. Leaving and cleaving never happened in the marriage. The in-laws are the leaders in the marriage, not the husband. The in-laws believe that their son is perfect or they see their son’s faults but place the blame on his wife.

What to Do For the Wife

It is not uncommon for emotional abuse to lead to physical abuse, so seek counseling as soon as possible. We might think that emotional abuse would not happen in Christian marriages. I’ve seen cases where the husband was a church leader.

Don’t keep it private. You think that your spouse will change or won’t get angry again if you’re more obedient. Be careful of such thinking. In a way, it deceives you to think that you’re in control of the situation.

Find someone who will believe you. Sometimes, church leaders are deceived or don’t want to get involved in messy problems. Don’t give up until you find a godly person who knows how to help.

Biblical submission. This is not obedience at all costs. Yes, wives are to submit to their husbands, but not to sin or sinful treatment.

Prayer. Pray for the spouse’s repentance. If the spouse is not saved, pray for his salvation. Pray that God would protect your heart from anger and bitterness.

Trust God. It is so hurtful when family or friends don’t believe you or desert you, but God knows the truth. You can rest in His care and know that vengeance belongs to Him.

Remember God’s character. He is faithful. He is all-knowing. He will never desert you.

Be Wise When Helping a Hurting Wife

If someone shares about any kind of abuse with you, know that a lot of courage and trust were involved. Be careful of shattering it! Most likely, this person is vulnerable and fearful. As I often tell people, good intentions are not enough. I’ve seen friends get involved by meeting with the husband and then they are left more confused.

Watch out for complaining and gossip. Use wisdom in determining how much the person should share with you. In the end, our effort to minister shouldn’t have enabled a venting session, but a return to God’s perspective session, which gives hope and honors God.

One woman said to me: “If God allowed this pain to happen so that my husband might know Christ, then it was worth it.” She also recognized that God used the trial to draw her closer to Him. At that moment, this person who never completed college taught me about faith in a way that I didn’t learn from books and lectures.

It’s easier to submit to a loving leader in the home, but to love a husband who constantly questions you, belittles you, and lies to you is a powerful display of faith in God.

Join the Conversation

What additional biblical counsel would you give to an emotionally abused wife?


[1]Brian Borgman, Feelings and Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 26.

Resources for YOU!

COUNSELING: Are you or a friend in an emotionally abusive relationship? May we encourage you to seek help from a trustworthy person at your church or from a biblical counselor? Please contact me, and I’ll give you hope and get you in touch with help.

DOWNLOAD: Here’s a helpful reminder of who you are in Christ. Go here to get it.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Worry: Is It Making You Sick?

worry
Worry is EVERYWHERE today, and it’s making you sick. Scrolling through Facebook is enough to churn anyone’s stomach nowadays. So much hate, so little grace!

Yet God says, “Do not worry” about anything. But how?!

In this short article, you’ll discover:

  1. Jesus’ wise words on worry.
  2. Worry makes you sick.
  3. How to stop worry.

Wise Words on Worry

Read this peace-filled passage, these Jesus words:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 

Luke 12:22-24 (NIV)

Birds and wild flowers — valuable, yes. But God values you so much more than them. Don’t his words calm your soul?

Worry Makes You Sick

Here’s what happens to you when you worry. And almost anything contributes to worry-stress: grumpy kids, a messy house, an overbearing or passive husband, gossipy coworkers. . .but especially your attitude about your circumstances.

So what’s your main stressor? How do you respond?

You feel stress in your body. Stress may tighten your neck, tense your back, or bring on a migraine. It can mess with your digestion and raise your blood pressure.

You eat poorly. You are more likely to turn to more snacks and less fruit, plus LOTS of chocolate and skipped meals. Here’s a better choice right here

You skip exercise. When stressed, you may lack the energy to work out or take a walk when getting moving will actually energize you. And it wil give you more time to ruminate on my worries.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to stop worry?

How to Stop Worrying

Simply, FOCUS. Focus on Jesus and his love. Focus on God and his greatness and protection and care. This thought journal right here helps you do transform your thoughts.

Stop focusing on yourself. Be other-centered. Be God-centered.

With a new focus, right now decide one thing you can do — yes, action! — that helps someone. I’ll start with a few ideas and I’d love to hear yours.

Write a thank you note and mail it.

Help your child with a school project.

Phone a family member or friend and ask about her life.

Think About It

How does the action of helping someone help squash worry? What are other choices you can make to stay safe from worry sickness?

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

 

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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