Lots of Christian women think to get God’s favor they must be good. You know, follow the Ten Commandments, read the Bible and pray daily, attend church weekly, and do nice things like feed the homeless.
The truth: Every genuine Christian has God’s favor now. You need not “get” it because you’ve “got” it. The word favor nearly synonymous with blessing?
Ephesians 1:3 says this:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Did you catch the phrase “every spiritual blessing”? If you have every spiritual blessing now, can you get more?
Choose to Believe God
The way, then, to receive God’s favor — his blessing! — is simple and profound: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31)
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. What do you need to believe? If you are not a Christian you need to believe you need help. Self-effort isn’t enough. Relying on a self-improvement book keeps you chained to a hamster wheel, running and running and going nowhere.
Instead, trust that Christ has done for you what you are cannot do: live a perfectly holy life.
If you are a Christian who has lost her way, then I invite you to read, even memorize, a biblical truth we at Biblical Counseling Center have framed in our offices and typed on our counseling materials:
Faith is believing the Word of God
and acting upon it,
no matter how I feel,
knowing God promises a good result.
Often the women, couples and families I counsel are Christians but are thinking and acting like unbelievers.
Many have let the world’s belief systems infiltrate their thinking, beliefs and motivations. They’re hurting and want relief. God gives them something better: peace and contentment in Christ in all circumstances. Here are two pictures of women who believed.
Rahab the Harlot and Favor
A prostitute in Jericho hid spies under flax on rooftop. Brave, this woman, this harlot. Brave, this believer in the one true God. A scarlet cord danging from her window attested to her belief and saved her life and the lives of her family when the Jericho walls fell in.
Do you think God can love sex-tainted women? Or women with a past, whatever the past? Perhaps abortion, adultery, promiscuity or pornography?
Isn’t it wonderful that God is bigger than the mistakes you’ve made?
The Rejected Samaritan Woman and Favor
Many times married and living with a guy, this woman was an outcast among outcasts. Fetching water midday, scorching sun high, she met Jesus at Jacob’s well and became an evangelist. This Jesus, he spoke truth, he showed compassion, and she was changed. A new creation, embraced by God Most High. She told the townsfolk who had shunned her.
Do you know the sting of disappointment and rejection? Remember middle school? The insecurity?
When you believe Jesus, you experience peace and contentment now. Sure, you still make bad choices and bad things happen will upend you. Yet you and I can rest in knowing God loves you . . .
more than wildflowers
because He Is Love.
COUNSELING HOPE: I encourage you to contact me and we can chat briefly by phone or email and see how biblical counseling might help you and give you hope. Stop by my counseling page for answers to questions you may have.
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
PEACE PLAN: Remember the spunky Miss Clara in the movie War Room? She narrates: “We fight for power. We fight for riches. And we fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about.” Yet. . .
“Very few of us know how to fight the right way.”
In this post, I’ll outline a simple, Spirit-inspired peace plan to pray. Miss Clara prayed in her closet she calls her “war room” and taught Elizabeth, played by Priscilla Shirer, to speak fervently with God about her crumbling marriage.
Is your marriage in trouble? Are your emotions out of control? Is your teen making poor choices? Are you ill? In financial duress? Brokenhearted?
God has a peace plan for the war you’re in. Prayer is your battle cry!
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God’s Peace Plan
It’s a four-letter word: P.R.A.Y.
Do not be anxious about ANYTHING but in EVERYTHING, by PRAYER and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6
Read this familiar verse again. Then think on it. Now do what it says: P.R.A.Y. This is your peace plan!
Begin with praise. Praising God puts your mind where it need to be: focused on God. He is the One who not only created to universe, but also knows your hurts and deeply cares.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16, NIV
To repent is to change your mind and line up your thoughts with God’s thoughts. Repentance is a gift from God, and I’ve noticed in counseling, those who repent make lasting, positive, godly changes the quickest.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord invites you to approach him confidently and share what’s on your heart. This is part of deepening your relationship with him. He promises to give you all that is good.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:2
As you pray, believing that God can handle your problems, your faith will increase, and you’ll become calm and confident.
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Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! Hebrews 12:9
Go ahead, PRAY. I will too. Tell me how it goes.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses are comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
When you embrace the truth of who God is, your burdens lift. . .even in trials. Dr. Donna Hart, PhD, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, shares loving truth. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.
When our burdens seem too heavy a weight to carry, we can be tempted to believe that God has unjustly piled them on us. The heaviness of the burden may lure us toward unbiblical views leading us to distrust his goodness. Then we may feel depressed.
False belief: I should get what I want
One belief we are prone to have is our right to certain things or relationships. We can mistakenly believe we have a “right” to what we want. We fail to realize the truth that it is a blessing to have. It is not a right.
Then anger often emerges, prompting us to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness. This path of thought will lead us to presume we know better than God. And we will likely try to do things our way.
Do you ever think God is arbitrarily making you miserable? If so, you may base your thinking on persistent feelings of discomfort, rather than upon God’s words of promise. So it’s is no wonder you’re miserable!
Asaph Questions God’s Character
Asaph questions God’s character in a similar way in Psalm 77:7-9:
Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show His favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld His compassion?
Fortunately, Asaph asks his questions from a place of faith in God. Our questions may be like Asaph’s, but they may not be asked from a position of faith.
An unbiblical interpretation of our lives can lead us down a slippery slope of false beliefs, which cause us to become more deeply saddened, thinking the future holds no hope.
False Belief: This world is all there is
Our hearts can start to think this world is all there is and seek only temporal relief rather than longing for his glory. Second Corinthians 4:17-18 says,
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
When we continually reject the truth of the Word by believing our own thoughts and emotions about our circumstances, we start to feel guilty. We also assume he has rejected us, leaving us with little hope.
Our hearts often cry out as Asaph did, asking if his will ever return. But we must remember that it is not true that he has forgotten to be gracious or that he has withdrawn his love, leaving us victims.
We must rebuke the lies that cause us to think God is standing with a raised hammer just waiting for the opportunity to lower it on our heads.
Asaph foresaw the inevitable judgment on Israel. In his heart he cries to God as he anticipates the coming misery of the Israelites’ suffering in captivity. He voices his fears but continues to appeal to to God’s divine power to change all that is to come.
False Belief: Trials are bad
The truth is, God ordains our trials to teach us to trust him and to grow our faith. In those trials, we must exercise a strenuous faith and give God glory and honor regardless of the circumstances. Be determined to resist self-focused desires of insisting on comfortable lives with easy answers, and convenient timetables.
As we learn to give God the glory and honor him no matter the circumstances, he will help us to. . .
- make discerning decisions with the right perspective
- grow in our faith
- persevere with joy
Let us learn to not gaze long and hard at our own suffering. Rather, may we stay focused on the promises God has set before us.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Scripture is a life-changing love letter. Counselor Donna Hart, PhD, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, experiences life change personally as she reads the Bible for understanding and transformation. Do you desire life transformation too? Donna’s article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.
A while back, I attended a women’s theology conference where Ruth Haley Barton spoke of our need to pay attention to our God-given desires. . .and to practice spiritual disciplines. She said believers through the centuries have practiced them as a way of opening up to the transforming presence of God.
As I listened I felt my spirit start to stiffen in resistance. I like to practice disciplines that are theologically correct. And I don’t like going off into a lot of emotion and commotion without any devotion.
Then she said something that captured my attention.
When we engage the Scriptures for spiritual transformation, we engage not only our mind but also our heart, our emotions, our body, our curiosity, our imagination, and our will.
We open ourselves to a deeper level of understanding and insight that grows out of and leads us deeper into our personal relationship with the One behind the text. It is in the context of relational intimacy that real life change takes place.
Scripture Is a Life-Changing Love Letter
Barton went on to clarify the importance of reading Scripture as a love letter from someone who loves you deeply. Indeed, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are active, alive, and God-breathed, just it says:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
How to Read Scripture
I followed her instruction to experience the Word for myself: Take a moment to become quiet and close your eyes to eliminate the distractions. Then let your body relax and allow yourself to become consciously aware of God’s presence with you.
- First Reading: Pick a Scripture of 4 or 5 verses, maybe a Psalm you particularly like, Isaiah 43:1-4, or Psalm 23. Read it out loud, listening for the word or phrase that catches your attention and savor the Word.
- Second Reading: Read the same verses out loud again and listen for the way in which this passage connects with your life today.
- Third Reading: Read the verses again listen for an invitation contained in God’s Word to you. Respond honestly to God about what you are hearing. This is a response that flows out of your deepest longing for God.
- Fourth Reading: Read these verses out loud, this time to rest in the word God has given you, knowing that he who has called you will be faithful to bring it to pass.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
Experiencing Life Change
I walked away from this exercise with a deep sense of peace and excitement. But I wanted to stay in that word the Lord had just given me, resolved to do exactly what He told me to do. Also I wanted to hold on to it and carry it with me all day and savor the moment of intimacy with God. It was like entering the throne room of God. And I did not want to leave. It was like the Lord was giving me a little taste of heaven.
I encourage you to try this discipline for yourself and experience the transforming presence of God. I would also love to hear about your encounter with God.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
“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.
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“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.
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,