The Truth Will Set You Free…

This is the last installment of the Lies Women Believe Study. There was a plethora of truth spoken by Nancy in these last two chapters, and throughout this book. I’m so grateful for this time to remind ourselves of the truth in God’s word. I feel like we have armed ourselves for battle….the spiritual battles we face as women. We are armed with the most powerful of weapons – The Truth!

If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-32, 36)

Nancy shared some great ideas for resisting the lies that often permeate our thoughts. She shared that she will often speak the truth out loud and over and over again. I am one who works through things by talking about them, and I find this to be true even in spiritual matters. While we do not always need to rely on others, there are times when I have called and prayerfully shared my thoughts with a trusted Christian friend, and in the process God has spoken truth to my heart and worked out the concerns. Sometimes saying it out loud helps! I also was encouraged by the fact that we may not always feel like obeying or forgiving…doing the hard part of walking in truth. Sometimes we have to go through the motions of doing the right thing, until all of our feelings catch up! (And the catching up can take some time. It’s not immediate!)

There truly is such great freedom in walking in truth. Freedom from bondage, from sin, from so many lies that keep us from being the people we were created to be. Nancy listed several truths in the last chapter. Here are just a few that jumped out to me.

God is good…no matter what the circumstances. He is always, always good.
We are complete in Him…a new creation.
God is enough.
God’s grace is sufficient for me…in all things.
My past does not have to plague me.
God’s Word is sufficient to teach me, lead me, heal me.
His Holy Spirit will enable us to do what He commands.

There are no “I can’ts” or “This is just too much!” He is faithful to equip us, and we have a choice to obey or not…to cling to Him for strength or struggle to do it on our own. We CAN do all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength!

I have thoroughly enjoyed this study. Thanks so much for joining in with us. I hope some of you will join with us for our next study: Made to Crave, beginning next Monday, March 28, 2011.

Have a blessed week! Keep clinging to Him and walking in the truth!

Lies Women Believe about Circumstances

This week on the Lies Women Believe (Nancy Leigh DeMoss), we will be covering Chapter 9, Lies Women Believe about Circumstances. I love the truths we are going to talk about this week. The basis for true joy lies not in our circumstances, but in keeping our eyes fixed on our unchanging, steadfast Savior. It is a great follow-up for last week’s study on emotions. Next week, we are going to finish up this study and announce the next book we will be covering.

Lie 36: If my circumstances were different, I would be different.

How many times have we found ourselves saying…If only things were different, I wouldn’t feel this way? If only….I would be happy, content, satisfied, full of joy, more patient, more loving, etc. The truth is that there is joy for us, right now in this moment. There is a way to be content and grateful for what God has given us right now. It’s time to let go of the what-ifs and if-onlys and focus on the blessings before us.

The Truth:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. ~ Philippians 4:11-12

Lie 37: I shouldn’t have to suffer.

Who do we think we are, anyway? Why should we be any more exempt from suffering than anyone else? Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a fan of suffering, and I don’t know anyone who would ask for it. It’s natural to have questions during suffering, but we must come to the point where we realize, as Job did that we were not there when God created the earth.We are not God. We do not know His ways….but we know He is good, and worthy of our praise…both in the giving and in the taking away.  God never promised this life to be easy. In fact, quite the opposite. He tells us not to be surprised by the fiery trials. I’m not saying God sends trouble upon us, but trouble exists as a result of our fallen world. And, He allows and uses those trials and suffering to perfect, strengthen, and establish us. We serve Jesus…we choose to follow Him. In doing so, we choose to die to ourselves, to take up our cross, to partake of His suffering. Scripture tells us to “count the cost”….to know what we are getting into before making this choice. He doesn’t promise easy…but He does promise to carry us, to meet us and equip us, to cover us, to grow us, and to prepare a place for us in Heaven’s glory at the end of this journey. The truth is…there will be trouble in this life. “The rain falls on the just and the unjust”. None are exempt from it. But, I would rather walk through it all with Him than without Him, wouldn’t you?

I bought this wall-hanging last week at one of my new favorite stores, Kirklands. It sort of sums it up:

  The Truth:
The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. ~ Peter 5:10
                                                                                                                                                                Lie 38: My circumstances will never change. This will go on forever.
Dinah and my mother both used to always say, “This didn’t come to stay. It came to pass.” I like that. One thing that many bereaved moms want to know at some point in their grieving is, “Will I always feel this way? Will I laugh again, feel joy, feel normal?” It can be some comfort, especially during tough times, to know that this season we are in will not last forever. The seasons of our life are constantly changing. Just as Ecclesiastes tells us, “there is a time to mourn…and a time to dance. To everything, there is a season.”
It’s also important to remember, no matter how difficult our circumstances may be, this life is a blip in the grand scheme of eternity. That is not always an easy truth…and in the midst of the suffering, it feels long and unbearable. But, eternity will come, and all of the promises that go with it. One day, this life and all it’s struggles will seem so short…just a distant memory.
The Truth:
Therefore we do not lost heart, 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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Lie 39: I can’t take it anymore.
Ugg…I’m putting this under the category of “I don’t wanna”. And, you know the answer to that, as Dinah would say: ”Cowboy up, Chicken Little…and just do the next thing.” (I also enjoy a little “man up” as stated in this week’s message by our beloved Pastor James. And another good one…”put your big girl pants on”…another saying shared in a conversation with a friend this week.) Another thing I have to say…to myself especially when I feel an “I can’t” coming on…what’s the alternative? This is your life. These are your circumstances. ”I can’t” isn’t an option.
The Truth:
His grace is sufficient for me. (2 Corinth. 12:9) As Nancy wrote, “His divine resources are available to meet your need – no matter how great. That’s the Truth. And the Truth will set you free.
Lie 40: It’s all about me.
Blech. Our culture is so “me centered”…putting so much emphasis on our own comfort, happiness, satisfaction, etc. Do you know something? I think this is one of Satan’s great joy stealers. The more effort we put toward satisfying ourselves, the less happy and fulfilled we are. Isn’t that interesting? In fact, the more we give, serve, and look beyond ourselves to others, the more freedom and joy we experience. My friend Betsy likes to say, “Me time is overrated.” I’ve always loved that.
Love Nancy’s words here about the Truth:
“The Truth is, it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him. The Truth may not change your circumstances – at least not here and now – but it will change you. Truth will set you free.”
*Next week will be the final installment of the Lies Women Believe study. Please stay tuned as we announce the next book we will be covering. I hope this has been an encouragement to you, and maybe some of you will join in with us for the next study…to be announced soon, along with a giveaway. =)

Lies Women Believe About Emotions…

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we postponed last week’s Lies Women Believe Study to focus on the passing and remembering of my friend Dinah. Hopefully taking the week off gave some of you a chance to catch up! ;) This week, we are talking about Lies Women Believe About Emotions. Da, da, da, daaaaaa.

This is a big one for me. In fact, I have felt such conviction reading this chapter. I am guilty of allowing almost every one of these lies to dictate my behavior at one time or another. While it is true that we cannot help how we may feel, we can control how we react to those feelings…and what we allow our minds to dwell on.

Those words are easier said than done…when emotions roar, telling us our feelings are true and valid and require action. Action and words…lots of words. Spewed with raised voice. Irrational tears. Anxious dwelling thoughts. Oh…the enemy has done quite a work with the lie of emotions. What God meant to be a beautiful gift to women…a gift that blesses those they love, a gift meant to nurture and love with passion and compassion. Satan has twisted this beautiful gift into something…hideous and broken…at least that’s what he means to do.

Which leads us to…

Lie Number 32 – If I feel something, it must be true.

I love how Nancy combats these lies with the truth that God is good, whether we feel it or not. He loves us, regardless of whether we feel unloved. He will never leave us, even if we feel forsaken. He forgives us when we feel unforgiven and drowning in guilt. He is faithful when we are not. He is steadfastly, always who He says He is…despite the raging storm of our changing emotions…emotions based on circumstances instead of our steadfast, immovable God.

Nancy sites scripture from Philippians…wise words from Paul…
Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…Whatever is true…think about such things.

And the result: The peace of God…

Lie Number 33 – I can’t control my emotions.

Truth: We take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinth. 10:5

We can fix our minds on Him, resist fear, trust Him…Do we trust Him rather than reacting to what we feel?

This is tough sometimes…

Which leads to a big one…

Lie 34 – I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack…

Hormones are strong stuff. And, they are hard to control. I can say with my mouth and write these words…but when the firestorm of emotions spews forth from me, capturing me and taking me unaware and ill-prepared, it feels almost impossible to keep from reacting…from being swept in. Still…it should not be an excuse for lashing out at my family and friends…for giving in to the fury, claiming it as truth. It seems to help to remember it’s coming and prepare…instead of using it as an excuse. It helps me to know…”This is a hormonal reaction. These strong feelings and overwhelming thoughts are not the truth.” Once I realize that’s what is happening, I calm down and refocus. We can pray for strength to overcome those moments. And, He will give us the grace to do so. It takes some effort and resisting what we feel, clinging instead to what we know to be true.

I love Psalm 139….God knows us. He created us…and He is not surprised by any part of us…not even our crazy hormones.

Lie 35- The answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or phsychotherapy.

Depression is prevalent among women, and more so in recent years. My mother battled depression much of her life. I remember as a young girl, praying that I would never struggle with those emotions. In recent years, as some of those pressing weights have laid on my shoulders…her passing, which seems to have passed on that struggle to me…I have wrestled.

Wrestled as a Christian woman…we should have joy. Am I failing to trust him, because I feel so heavy? Am I giving in to fear when I curl up into my shell, run to things other than Him, don’t want to leave my room and face life? Why? Why do I feel this way? Am I not believing Him enough? Am I a hypocrite to feel these feelings while I preach the hope in the living God?

Sometimes…it is because I cling to other things for comfort…things that will not truly bring joy…things that cause a brief escape…a false comfort. Food, a mindless TV show, a conversation with a friend…basically everything Nancy mentioned…I have run to. This section was the most convicting. I have fallen for every excuse. I am weak in every area mentioned under lie number 34.

Many women in my life take medication for depression. So widespread is this issue, it is a common thing. I have resisted, so far. Not because I don’t think there is a time for medicine. I do believe that is one way God helps us, when needed, due to a chemical or physical cause of depression that cannot be helped another way. Yet…I do wonder at times. It seems like in some cases, medicine has become just another easy answer…not all cases…but some. For many it is necessary…and that is a different matter.

We have not been created to live the way we are living. We were not made for the pace of our world…of our lives. Yet…this is where we are…living in this time…in this place. I wonder how much our battle with bouts of depression has to do with living a life we weren’t created for…an environment that doesn’t nourish and sustain..that rushes us on to the next thing. Then I read in scripture that depression is certainly nothing new. David battled, Jonah, Elijah, Hannah…on and on.

In all of it, the answer isn’t for me to give in to the excuses…feeding my family pizza delivery again, remaining overwhelmed by my disorganized mess, eating the Doritos because they make me feel better. Those band aids mentioned in this chapter…every one of them….I am guilty of all. But, I don’t have to stay there. And, slowly, He is pulling me out…whispering to me to cling to Him, instead of the layers I’ve built.

One more thing I want to share… It is quite simple sounding, but a powerful truth. Gratefulness is a great way to change our outlook when we have sunk to the pit of despair. Giving thanks…finding something, anything to give thanks for…praising God for who He is…these things change our perspective from focusing on our feelings and circumstances. Gratefulness renews hope.

Psalm 42:5-6;8
Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,

at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

*Next week’s chapter, Lies Women Believe About Circumstances, will be posted Monday, March 14th.

Chapter 7: Lies Women Believe About Children

Each Monday, we are covering a chapter from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. I’m going to be honest with you. I struggled with some of the thoughts in this chapter about our children. While everything Nancy said is true, I feel I need to place a guard up against reading a different meaning into some of what was shared in this chapter.

I believe that everything we do needs to be bathed in grace. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a mess and I know my desperate need. Perhaps it’s because I have battled the deception of performance so much in my own life…feeling defined by my failures, measured by my limitations, locked in the bondage of all the ways I fall short instead of freed by the gift grace being offered by our Savior.

The biggest lie I struggle with as a mother is the one that says we are 100 percent responsible for the behavior of our children. Whenever I focus on my performance as a parent, I am at my worst. That thinking results in feelings of hopeless defeat. My eyes are not even focused on what’s best for my kids, but on the picture we are presenting to others. When that happens, nothing good comes from it. I fail…they rebel. So, I try to purpose in my heart to stay away from that line of thinking…to resist focusing on my performance or theirs at all costs.

I have learned the gift of grace-based parenting over the years. Teenagers are good teachers of the concept. I find myself rebelling against my own hypocrisy and legalism, seeing the reflection in their eyes. While I don’t always practice grace as I should, it is a freeing gift each time I do.

Another thing that being a mom for seventeen years has taught me is that most battles are best fought on my knees in prayer. God does not give us a spirit of fear. He longs for us to pour out all of our anxious thoughts and concerns at His waiting feet. He is able when I fall short. He can protect my son when he drives away in the car. He can give wisdom for the weighty matters of life. He can soften a hardened heart, shape a rebellious spirit, comfort an anxious mind, heal a wheezing cough. He can go where I cannot. He can see the motives of their hearts. He alone. And, He hears every prayer this mama-heart sets before His throne on behalf of the children that He has good plans for…the children that He loves even more dearly and perfectly than this mother.

That is the hope we rest in. Please don’t read this chapter and allow fear to enter your heart. Fear about your children’s salvation. Fear about the harmful influences of the world. Fear about your own performance. We are covered in grace…every step of the way.
——————

Lie 27. It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.

Truth: God is the Creator and Giver of life. (Genesis 1)

I will not place judgment on those who seek the Lord’s guidance in planning their families. Over the years, I have wondered about some of my own choices in that area. But, I believe it is between the Lord and each married couple to determine what is best for their family. We have five children, and in the having of our children, there was much difficulty. Three of them are in heaven and my body has forever been changed. I’m not talking about stretch marks…I mean internally. Pregnancy has proven to be quite toxic to me.We would have loved more children and sometimes I wonder about our decision to not have anymore. God knows our hearts and I trust His grace is poured over us, even in this. There is a way of thinking in today’s society that almost lends to the idea that children are an inconvenience. It is born of selfishness. I believe Nancy’s thoughts are to combat the way of thinking that having children should be based on the selfish idea of convenience. My dear bloggy friend, Mary, shares some excellent thoughts on this idea on her blog.

Lie 28. Children need to get exposed to the “real world” so that they can learn to function in it.

Truth: Our goal is not for our children to fit into the world, but to be used by God to change it. Children need to be protected from worldly influences until they are spiritually mature enough to withstand them. (Romans 12:2, Psalm 101)

This is the lie that I have heard over and over again in opposition to our choices as Christian parents to shield our children from worldly influences…from family and friends alike over the years. There is a definite deception among some who think that children should be freely exposed to everything. They need to be sheltered. Nancy talks about exposing a plant to the harsh conditions of winter. We wouldn’t do that…knowing that the plant cannot withstand such harsh conditions for it would surely wither and die. The same is true for our kids. They need to be protected from some things. We need to guard what their young minds are exposed to through the media and other forums. One of my favorite verses for my kids when asked why they can’t watch something or listen to that music says we should be “wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:19) It’s true for them and it’s true for me. We must guard what our eyes see and what enters our minds.

That being said, I do think that we should not live in fear of worldly influences, either…knowing that we cannot live in a total protective bubble. There will be worldly ideas that weasel their way into our lives and the lives of our children. We do need to use those times as teachable moments…and we need to pray that our children will be equipped to resist those influences. They need to learn to choose light when darkness and light lies before them…in time as they grow. They are stronger when they’ve been given a solid foundation.

Lie 29. All children will go through a rebellious stage.

Truth: Expecting our children to rebel makes it more likely that they will do so.

I believe this to be true, but I also believe that scripture shows we all have rebellion in our hearts. We all sin. We all fall short. From time to time, my kids have displayed defiance. And, I have offered discipline when needed. And, grace when needed. While we shouldn’t expect rebellion from our kids, and we can maintain a loving relationship through their teenage years, we should not feel completely responsible or defeated should we be met with some rebellion from our kids. After all, God was the perfect parent and His children rebelled against Him. It is part of our nature…not that we shouldn’t strive against it, nor should we expect it…but we should not feel defeated when we see rebellion rear it’s head.

I believe I covered the last two lies (number 30 regarding our children’s salvation and number 31 regarding our performance as parents) at the beginning of this post. We should not live in fear of whether or not our children will come to know Christ. Instead, we should teach them the Word, live as godly examples, show love, and pray, pray, pray! Let God do the rest!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the lies and truth about mothering.

Praying for each of us as we navigate our way through this study…

Created to be a Helpmate…Chapter Six…Lies Women Believe About Marriage

This week’s chapter of Lies Women Believe is so full of important truths and revealing lies that women struggle with…too much for one post. I’m going to skim through some of the concepts and leave links to posts that have previously covered some of these important topics on marriage.

Let’s dig in. I find it interesting, but certainly not surprising, that Satan began the demise of the human race by attacking the holy institution of marriage. I remember when God began to reveal to me the beauty He intended for marriage…the mystical miracle, the intricate plan. It delighted me to learn the nuances….to watch the unfolding of His love story as we lived ours. When I learned through His Word how He designed marriage to reflect our relationship with Him…to grow us into the people He created us to be…to tangibly show us a picture of His love. That blows my mind today as much as it did the first day I realized that incredible earth-shaking truth.

Last night, at the Heart to Heart marriage enrichment evening at our church, (which by the way was delightful and full of laughter), the speakers talked about God’s intention for intimacy in marriage. Complete intimacy…not just in a physical sense. But the idea that we can completely trust ourselves with one another, lay down all of our rights to whatever we think we have the right to, open ourselves up, being vulnerable, knowing that we are safe with one another. They spoke of the oneness we are meant to share: body, heart, and mind. A connectedness that is nothing short of a miracle.

It’s possible…when we do things His way.

And, it’s amazing when it happens. I remember when it began for me. It was when I learned that I needed to stop waiting for Tim to change and just let God start changing me. It was when He began to love Tim through me, teaching me about the beauty and freeing gift of submission. The importance of building my husband up…respecting and honoring him….giving myself to him in ways that spoke his love language. It was when He taught me to start praying and get out of the way. Stop undermining and start encouraging. Stop looking to Tim to meet my every need…and start looking to Jesus. Before Tim walked with the Lord, God began to reveal the beautiful qualities He had already placed in him…qualities that God would one day use in Tim’s life to bring honor to Him, and show the love of Jesus to others. He taught me to stop looking at flaws and showed me how “love always hopes, always endures, thinks no evil”. Love doesn’t look at what we lack…love looks at the blessed gifts in each of us. I learned about dying to my selfish wants and desires and something incredible happened.

As I gave myself to Tim, loving him with abandon and no strings attached….as I prayed and learned to get out of the way…God began to work in both of us until broken things were restored, sins were forgiven, hurts were healed, and he began to give his heart to me in ways that I needed. It is a circle of love…of laying it all down. And, a mutual submitting that defies logic. In losing our lives, we gain life. In laying it all down, we are filled. In giving all the love in our hearts, we are given back love. It’s the way our relationship with God should look…the oneness, the being completely submitted to Him, the vulnerability, the trust, the sheer beauty of loving with complete abandon.

Basically all of the above…covers most of the truth about the following lies covered in Chapter Six of Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Lie 21: I have to have a husband to be happy.
Truth: “The Truth is that the ultimate purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to glorify God.” Nancy shares some more excellent points in this chapter about not overwhelming our husbands with all of our needs.

Lie 22: It is my responsibility to change my mate.
Truth: Only the Holy Spirit can change our spouse…and it’s not our job. We will get much further by living a Godly life (winning our husband’s without a word – not nagging!), praying, and getting out of the way, allowing God to work. I would also like to add that our husband’s flaws are none of our business and we should not even look at or dwell on them. Time is much better spent dealing with our own flaws…something we can change.

Lie 23: My husband is supposed to serve me.
Truth: “God did not make the man to be a ‘helper’ to the woman. He made the woman to be a ‘helper’ to the man.” (Such truthful words from the author, based on scripture.) The beautiful thing is that if we fulfill our roles as helpmate, often it makes it easier for our husbands to fulfill their roles as a loving spiritual leader…one that loves us so much he will give his life for us. He gives his life for us, by laying down his own wants and putting us first, just as we do the same for him. It is truly a beautiful circle of love…and mutual submission.

Lie 24: If I submit to my husband, I will be miserable.
Truth: Submission is one of the most liberating gifts God has given us. It is meant for our good and our protection. Meant to show us a full picture of our relationship with Him. I encourage you to study out Nancy’s thoughts further…as there is much deception about the true gift submission is meant to be. I shared a bit about it in this post: Submission and  this post  Great Expectations.

Lie 25: If my husband is passive, I’ve Got to Take the Initiative or nothing will get done.”
Truth: In my words…we are most of the time better off if we get out of the way and pray than stand in our husband’s way of being the man God has created him to be. We fulfill our role much better as an encourager than one who continually steps in front of our husband or takes the reigns from his hands. Trust God…and trust your husband. They can handle it.

Lie 26: Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage.
Truth: “Marriage is a lifelong covenant, He is faithful and we can be too. There is no marriage God cannot heal…no person He can’t change. God’s grace is sufficient…This is not to say that sometimes, for safety…in cases of abuse and habitual infidelity that a woman should stay in an unsafe situation. God gives wisdom and we should seek His direction and a woman should keep her children and herself safe, should she find herself in such a destructive relationship. But, too many people give up on marriage instead of sticking it out through the hard stuff…through the disappointments. There is joy on the other side, and He can enable you to remain faithful.

Love to all this Valentine’s Day….praying that all may know how precious you are to our loving Father…and how deeply loved you are….

Condemnation vs Conviction…Lies Study Chapt. 5…Juggling Priorities

I’m posting the Lies Women Believe study a day early, because tomorrow, I will be doing a special Valentine’s Day post on love. Before I delve into Chapter Five’s study on Lies Women Believe about Priorities, I wanted to address something that has been brought to my attention during some recent discussions with some of my in real life friends taking part in this study.

It’s no secret that we love grace here, and I believe that if we look in scripture, we find grace for all of the topics we have been covering in this book. Some parts are tough, I’m not going to lie. (Pun intended! =) It’s important as we’re reading this book, to guard against some of the attacks that can creep up and distract us from the true point of the lesson. If Satan can’t get us by deceiving us one way, he will try another. If you’re struggling with some of the opinions shared by the author of the book, I would recommend studying out the scriptures listed at the end of the chapter and ask the Lord to speak to your heart on that issue. Let His word minister to you, rather than the author’s thoughts alone. It’s a good idea to measure everything we hear against scripture. I believe this book is full of truth and encourages us to think differently about some of the ideas that have been ingrained in us as women. Sometimes it can be really hard to let go of some of those thought processes.

So, if you are struggling with some of these concepts, I want to encourage you. The point is not for you to feel condemned, hopeless, discouraged, or fearful. If you are feeling that way, you are experiencing condemnation….and that is never from God. When God reveals sin in our hearts, He uses conviction. Conviction sometimes has a bit of a sting…but it feels much like that of a loving father chastising us…not an accuser, taking away all our hope and leaving us defeated and hopeless. Conviction is from the Lord. It brings hope that we can find forgiveness for the areas where we are weak…that we can have victory where we have experienced failure. It is loving and for our ultimate good. It’s important to discern between the two, and let go of the ideas that are making you feel condemned. It is my hope and prayer that this book will encourage you in your walk with the Lord…not discourage you. I really do feel that it would help for us to share and discuss, whether we have differing opinions on the concepts in the book…either in the comments or the Blog Frog. The study will be much more effective if we are sharing our thoughts and praying specifically for one another. I appreciate those of you who have offered some input.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2

Having said that, let’s dig into this week’s study on Lies Women Believe About Priorities. I believe this is one of the biggest struggles for me as a woman living in today’s world. I have shared my battle often, to balance my time with the Lord, caring for the needs of my family, serving at church, serving and leading Sufficient Grace Ministries, and working full time at the elementary school. It’s a lot to balance, and sometimes the priorities get out of order. When they do, all the balls I’m juggling come tumbling down around us.

Lie Number 18: I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do.

I have a lot to do, and a lot of roles to fulfill. Sometimes this lie/excuse seems valid for me. But, the truth is there is enough time to accomplish what God has planned for this day. Just not necessarily what I’ve planned for the day.

Another thing I’ll admit is that I completely stink at time management. I take on more than I should and always underestimate the amount of time a task is going to take. God…and frankly Tim…are working on me about this. The truth is I could accomplish much more, and do it more effectively if I managed time better and worked to stay organized. My friend Lynette always says it’s important not to step over those we love in order to go serve others. We must first take care of our family, before seeking other ministries. I’ll admit, I don’t always keep these priorities in line. I’m often convicted when I place a ministry need above that of my family. Things always work better when we do them in the proper order.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Lie Number 19: I can make it without consistent time in the Word and prayer.

I would never say that I believe this, but the way I live would tell a different tale. I often rush out in my busyness…wielding my to-do list…flying by the seat of my pants. Soon, energy is depleting…things aren’t falling into place….and then I realize, I went out in my own power instead of asking God to cover me in His armor. As I’m writing, it seems crazy to try and take one step or even think one thought without seeking Him. And, yet I’m guilty of doing just that.

The truth is…I don’t have time NOT to pray and seek wisdom from His Word. I will never be the woman God wants me to be…all that He intends for my life without spending time with Him.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:147

Lie Number 20: A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and a mother.

Being a wife and mother is a privilege and a blessing. Our families need us to make them the top priority. It takes time, energy, and focus to care for our home and families with love and diligence. I know that parts of this chapter may have been difficult for some mothers, who also juggle a career with family. I am a busy working mother, myself, and understand the dilemma. You will find no judgment, nor condemnation from me on the subject of working outside the home. I will say this. There have been times when my choice to work full time and lead a ministry have left me feeling stretched, out of order with priorities, weary, and not giving my family my best. My house gets messy and disorganized and I grow discouraged at my inability to keep up.

I don’t work outside the home for the sake of fulfillment, but to supplement our family income, for necessary reasons that Tim and I have discussed and covered in prayer. I would rather be home, keeping up on things. I’m grateful God has provided me a job that works around my children’s schedule so that I haven’t had to leave them. When they were young, I was home with them for most of their early years. And, when I was away for two hours a day, working part time, their grandmother watched them. I’m grateful that I can work with students who are a great blessing to me, and teachers whom I admire and respect. I’m grateful for snow days and getting paid when I’m home with a sick child. I’m grateful for substitutes, paid holidays, and a steady pay check.

I want to just say, that I think God is much less concerned about our position than He is the attitude of our hearts. Busyness and outside of home activities can steal our joy and lead us into wrong thinking…but the same can happen from our homes. What matters is keeping our list of priorities: God, family, church/ministry/work. Where is my heart focused? What matters to me? Do I show that in the way I live? Sometimes…but sometimes I need to check myself, because I’m not living it. Where do I look for support and direction? Women were busy in biblical times, as well. This is not some new thing. Distraction and busyness…while an effective tool have come in different forms over the years.

I do think some have fallen for this deception…thinking a career seems more fulfilling. Let’s face it, laundry and dishes are far from glamorous. And, training up children can be a grueling, albeit rewarding task. There is much sacrifice and little instant gratification. You pour your heart and soul into caring for your family, and don’t always see instant results like you do at work. Sometimes it feels as if no one sees…but God does. He sees the love you pour into your family. And, He will honor your obedience. Whether mothering while balancing work outside the home…or mothering from home full time…your family is your main job and should get your best effort. Keep on keepin’ on sister…and remember you are covered in grace. God cares much more about the attitude of your heart than your position…or your perfect performance.

Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4

If you’re still out there reading, I’d love to hear from you! In the comments or the Blog Frog

Chapter Four ~ Lies Women Believe about Sin

Each Monday, we are posting on a chapter of the Lies Women Believe book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This week, Nancy covers some of the Lies Women Believe about Sin. One of the things I’ve been pondering in preparation for this study is the fact that sin often presents itself as the solution to the very problems it causes. I wrote about this in depth in a post last year called Peeling Back the Layers, where I shared about my struggle with food. When tempted to disobey what we know God wants for us, Satan often appeals to our flesh….

“You don’t need all these restrictions. Don’t you just want to be free from the rules? You can have what you want…you should be able to have what you want.”

The truth is that, while sin feels good at first…indulging in whatever it is we’re tempted to indulge in at that moment, it leads to bondage, which is the opposite of freedom. It was the same with Eve. Satan is truly a master deceiver….and He will often promise to free you when He truly means to entangle you beyond what you could imagine.

As Nancy writes, “Though it may entertain us, play with us, sleep with us, and amuse us, its nature never changes. Inevitably, it will always rise up to bite and devour those who befriend it.”

Lie Number Thirteen ~ “I can sin and get away with it.”

We see this all the time, don’t we? We are so bathed in mercy and grace, sometimes we take advantage of that free gift. We get comfortable in our sin…thinking that there will be no consequence or maybe underestimating the consequences. If we truly realized the cost of our sin, we would never even dabble with it.

The Truth ~
We will reap what we sow…Gen. 3:4-5, Gal. 6:7-8
If we play with fire, we will get burned…we will not escape sin’s consequences…
Psalm 32:1-5, Eccl. 8:12, 12:13-14, James 1:13-15

Lie Number Fourteen ~ My sin isn’t really that bad.

My friend Dinah always refers to these as “pet sins”.  We get so used to them. They seem harmless. We almost accept them as just who we are….our little quirks.

The Truth ~ Every act of sin is an act of rebellion against God. Rom. 5:6-7, I John 1:5-10

Lie Number Fifteen ~ God can’t forgive what I’ve done.

This is probably the one Satan uses the most with me. He will often parade all my sins in front of me. Something from the past I’d rather forget. Stealing my joy and confidence, convincing me that I’m not forgiven, not covered by the blood of Jesus, not redeemed by His grace. That I’m still that girl. The shame of sin weighs heavily as He spews the lies. It’s not a weight we’re supposed to carry….or a weight we’re strong enough to carry. Instead, Jesus has redeemed us when He paid the debt for all our sins on the cross…we no longer have to buckle under sin’s weight. He gave us a new identity in Him. I am not that  lost, broken girl…I am His girl. His redeemed, beautiful, covered in grace…forgiven girl.

The Truth ~
The blood of Jesus is enough to cover ANY and EVERY sin we have committed. ( See: I John 1:7)
There is NO sin too great for God to forgive. (See: Psalm 85:10 130:3-4)
God’s grace is greater than the greatest sin. (See: Rom. 3:24, 5:11-14)

Lie Number Sixteen ~ I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.

Excuses, excuses, excuses….

We have a ton of them…especially in today’s culture. We have a name and corresponding excuse for every behavior and “condition” that plagues the human race. But….but…but….there is a reason why I did it. It was my hormones, my broken heart, the fact that my needs weren’t being met, I was tired, hungry, sick. Blah…blah…blah. At least that’s what I’m saying to myself tonight as I think of how at times, I can be the Queen of Excuses.

The Truth ~
I am not responsible for the actions of others…
Gen. 3:11-13
But I am responsible for my own actions and choices.
Psalm 51:1-10, Phil. 4:8-9, Col. 3:1-17

Funny…this is something we tell the children at school. Interesting that we continue to struggle with this as adults! ;)

Lie Number Seventeen ~ I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.

This one is tough. It is difficult to walk in consistent victory over the sin that plagues us. After all, we will battle our fleshly desire to sin for as long as we walk this earth. But…

The Truth is…
…we do not have to give up and assume defeat. We ARE able to have victory. We are able to “all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength”. Even overcome sins that have held us captive. We have been set free. We are not slaves to sin, but free in Jesus. (John 8:31-32, 36;14:6; Romans 6:6-7, Gal. 5:1, Heb. 10:10, Corinth. 6:9-11)

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness…through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 6:18;8:2

I have really enjoyed the wisdom and truth…and even the conviction of this study. (Even though, it’s totally kicking my butt in a lot of ways!) Please share your thoughts in the comments and Blog Frog Discussion. I know many of you are behind on the reading. That’s o.k…just stick with it and come back to share your heart when you’re able. Next week, we will be covering an area where I struggle often….Lies Women Believe about Priorities. Yikes…I feel some conviction just typing that. It’s going to be a great study! =)

Lies Women Believe ~ Chapter Three: Lies Women Believe about Themselves (Updated)

Each Monday, we are reviewing a chapter from the Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This week, we are covering the Lies Women Believe about Themselves. I know several are reading along, but many have mentioned they are behind. I hope you will all stick with this book and join in some of the discussion…whether in the comments of these posts or in the Blog Frog Discussion. It is my hope and prayer that we may be an encouragement to one another in the areas that many women struggle with in their walk.

Let’s dig in. I’ll warn you. Nancy doesn’t mess around in this book. She tells it like it is, blowing to pieces many of the excuses women often use for their sins and shortcomings. And, in the frame of mind I have been in lately, I have to say: I’m loving it! I am so tired of being complacent and sluggish in my walk and in my life. You might wonder what I mean, since it looks like I’m quite busy with my family, work, and serving the Lord. I am busy…that’s true. But, my joy has been lagging for awhile. And, I’ve mentioned several times allowing myself to grow weary and distracted. It’s a constant battle…to stay focused, to resist weariness, to fix our eyes on Jesus, to seek Him and turn away from the things of this world. I’m a little tired of just treading water, when I know God has so much more planned for my life. (Now that I said that….I need to ask for prayer…because no doubt, the attack is coming! Let’s get our armor on!!)

Lie Number Seven:
I’m Not Worth Anything

The Truth:
Our value is not determined by what others think of us or what we think of ourselves. Our value is determined by how God views us.

How does God view us?
Psalm 139 tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are known by Him, and loved by Him. His thoughts to us are more than can be counted. He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb and fashioned our days before we took a breath.

Romans 5:6-8 tells us that while were were still sinners Christ died for us. God gave His only son…while we were filthy and covered in sin, rejecting Him….He gave Him to die in our place….to make a way for us to be saved. That is how great His love is….He came for us.

In Ephesians 1:3-8, we find that we are blessed, chosen, accepted, adopted, and redeemed….all for His good pleasure.

That is how precious and worthy we are….not because of anything we did. We find our worth in Him….because He gives us value…because we are forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus….because we are His.

Lie Number Eight:
I Need to Learn to Love Myself

The Truth:
By faith, I need to receive God’s love for me.
I already love myself. I need to deny myself and let God love others through me.

This lie is something we are fed by the world’s philosophy so often, we may not realize how much it has woven it’s way into our thinking. And, not to ruffle any feathers, but it’s such Bologna! As Nancy writes, “Our problem isn’t so much a ‘poor self-image’ as it is a ‘poor God-image’. Our need is not to love ourselves more but to receive His incredible love for us and to accept His design and purpose for our lives.”

She also writes, “Jesus taught us that it is in losing our lives that we find our lives.”

And later: “We naturally love ourselves; we do not naturally love others.”

My friend Betsy says a phrase that really speaks truth to this deception: She says “Me time is overrated.” I like that. We think we need to indulge ourselves more….when really we need to focus less on ourselves and more on others. You know what’s funny about that? We often find more contentment in denying ourselves and serving His purpose than we do when we try to indulge ourselves.

Lie Number Nine:
I Can’t Help the Way I Am

Excuses, excuses, excuses. I can be the queen of them, that’s for sure. It’s easy to get swept into the deception that our past mistakes define us….or the idea that who we are, or who our parents are, or the circumstances of our lives, determines how we should live and think. For instance, if someone was abused, they may think that they are doomed to be an abuser or marry an abuser….continuing the cycle of what they have known, feeling like they are destined to live this way, locked in bondage. This lie even goes so far as to give us an excuse for any reaction based on our circumstances….hormones, past, tiny house, difficult job, our feelings, the way our family always did things is the way we have to. All of those ideas allow the circumstances to dictate how we react and behave. We do not have to continue living this way…as if we haven’t been set free. We are free in Him….we do not need to be slaves of our circumstances and we are not defined by them. This is something I have battled from time to time. I’m grateful for the reminder.

The truth is:
We have the choice to obey God, and as His child, we are able to do so. We can be changed by His Holy Spirit. Our circumstances do not need to dictate our behavior.

Lie Number Ten:
I Have My Rights

The Truth:
Claiming rights leads to bondage….yielding rights sets me free.

Yikes….this one is a toughy. The emotions and feelings we women face are strong…and hard to resist. We feel we have a right to be angry when we are wronged or someone fails to meet our expectations.The right to be dissatisfied when things don’t go the way we want. We have a right to certain things…comfort, to be happy, to be loved, to have a good job, to have certain things, to live a certain way. As Americans, we are very good at claiming “our rights”. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the gift of freedom that we are afforded as Americans, but we need to remember that we are not entitled to have things go our way all the time. Staking claim on our rights leads to a lot of trouble.

I like what Nancy says to combat this lie: The fact is, successful relationships and healthy cultures are not built on the claiming of rights, but by on the yielding of rights.

Lie Number Eleven:
Physical Beauty Matters More Than Inner Beauty

The Truth:
The beauty that matters to God is our inner spirit…He looks at the heart.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
~Proverbs 31:30

I’ll be honest. I say that this one is not an issue for me. I say that of course, I believe that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty….eternally speaking. But, I don’t always live that way. I struggle with the idea of getting older sometimes. And, more and more, I notice the way younger women look, and sometimes even feel a twinge of envy. I don’t like to admit that ugliness…and try not to dwell there. But, it pops up every once in awhile. I’m not just disappointed in myself for going to God instead of food, because it is wrong spiritually. It bothers me to gain weight because I don’t like how I look physically. My gray hair and other imperfections bother me. I don’t always see myself the way God sees me. There is nothing wrong with caring how we look and trying to look nice for our husbands, and for ourselves. We should after all, do those things. But, looks should not be more important than the attitude of our hearts. My friend Monica did a great post recently on the deception of physical beauty, and some of the messed up views we women have on the subject.

Lie Number Twelve:
I Should Not Have to Live With Unfulfilled Longings

The Truth:
We will always have unfulfilled longings this side of heaven. (Rom. 8:23) 
Nothing and no one on this earth can fulfill us.
Longings on this earth create a desire for God and heaven.

We are inundated with this lie in our culture. There is a quick fix for everything it seems. Worldly philosophy which tells us that every longing we have should be fulfilled. Satisfy your needs with a how-to book, a vacation, a new look, a “deep-dish pizza” as Nancy says or you know…some people might choose a bag of Doritos. Same idea. Same lie. Same bondage. These things we look to will never satisfy us. In fact, they will leave us feeling more empty in the end. We have been created with what some call a “God-sized hole in our hearts”…a longing that only He can fill.

What Lies do you struggle with about yourself? And, what Truth do you need to cling to to free yourself from that way of thinking?

I need to remember to look to the Lord to fulfill all my longings. I also need to remember that the opinions of others do not define my worth. I am not defined by my past or by the actions of others. I am worthy because I am His….I am loved perfectly and completely by the Lord. I  need to guard my thoughts and search my motives. Remain in the word and in prayer daily.

This song by JJ Heller pretty much sums it up:

Praying for you this week…and appreciate your prayers for me as well. Please stick with this ladies. I would love to hear your thoughts on this week’s topic. Next week, we will be covering Chapter Four: Lies Women Believe About Sin.

Love to all…

P.S. Scroll down to the post below for an exciting opportunity to be blessed and encouraged with the ladies of SGM at the Women of Faith Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Chapter Two ~ Lies Women Believe…About God

This week, we are covering Chapter Two from the book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

This chapter begins at the heart of the matter. What we believe about God…what we truly believe…not what we think we believe or what we say we believe…impacts how we react to everything in our lives. Realizing Who God truly is puts all the other things we may face in this life in perspective. This chapter begins with Eve, questioning what she believed about God. Like many of us, when life grows difficult and the consequences of sin start sinking in, Eve starts to doubt. There are several points that convicted me at the beginning of the chapter.

Here are a few:

1. Satan knows where you are most vulnerable to being deceived, and that is where he will target his attack.

Our enemy knows us. He knows us well. And, He strikes where we are weak. Unfortunately, we’re not that complicated.

2. …women who claim to believe the Truth of God’s Word; but the way they live-their choices, their priorities, their response to pain- reveals that they do not really believe the Truth. However what we believe is revealed, not by what we know or what we say we believe, but by how we actually live. So as we walk through these lies, it’s not enough to ask, “Do I believe this lie?” Each of us must also ask, “Do I live as though I believe this lie?”

Yikes! I have been guilty of this more times than I’d like to admit. I know the truth. I say I believe it. There have been times when life gets hard, that I have lived like I believe it. But…there have been other times, when I reacted to circumstances instead…times when I gave into feelings, instead of trusting what I know…times when I looked too closely at the size of the giant in front of me, instead of remembering the size of my God. Too many times.

3. Nancy writes, “I have chosen to start by dealing with lies that women believe about God because there is nothing more crucial than what we believe about God.”

Let’s look at Lie #1….
“God is Not Really Good. If He Were, He Would…”
It’s hard to even type those words. Of course, we believe that God is good, right? I mean, from the time we are very young, we pray that God is good. It’s one of the basic concepts of our faith.

Many of you have walked in the places that drive one to question God’s goodness. I have witnessed the reaction in others, while mothers stand over the graves of their children, while watching tragedies in the lives of others, trying to understand a natural disaster or an act of terror. I’ve even, in the recesses of my heart, allowed a flicker of wondering about this very question exist as I watched my mother’s terrible suffering at the end of her life. Just for a moment, it lingered.

You’ve heard people ask the question, “How could a good God allow this to happen?”

Nancy writes, “When turbulence, disappointment, or pain comes into our lives; when we lose people we love; when things don’t go as we had hoped or planned, Satan tempts us to wonder, ‘Is God really good? If He were, how could He have let this happen?’ or ‘Why would He have kept this good thing from me?’

I have been tempted by Satan in this area….meaning, He has dangled the question in front of me. In moments when I grow weary with the overwhelming amount of suffering that exists. But, each time, God reminds me gently and lovingly of all that He has done. And, I rest in His goodness. All lies must be combatted…taken captive…by the truth. And, the truth is: God is good, and everything He does is good. (Psalm 119:68)

The truth is: We live in a fallen world, where sin reigns…where death and disease, brokenness, illness, suffering, and sorrow exist in abundance. We live in this world, not because it was the will of our loving, good God…but because of our choice to bring sin into the perfect paradise He created for us. We have hope and redemption through Jesus, because He died for our sins and rose again. But, that doesn’t take away the current predicament of living here, in the consequences of a world full of sin. Our time here is guaranteed to have some struggles. God never promised otherwise. He said not to be surprised at the trials, but to expect them.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

 Lie # 2: God Doesn’t Love Me

Again, most of us wouldn’t say this. Of course, God loves us. “Jesus loves me…This I know”, right?

Nancy writes, “But for many women, there is a disconnection between what they know intellectually and what they feel to be true. And therein lies one of our problems: We trust what we feel to be true, rather than what we know to be true.” Nancy talks about this being fundamental to the way women are wired. And, it truly is an issue for us…trusting our feelings instead of trusting in what we know.

We must remember, that God loves us…not because of who we are or what we have done. He loves us, because of who He is. And…nothing can change that love.

Loved this quote from Melana, who battled breast cancer: As His bride, we are also eaten up with cancer – sin- and are scarred, mutilated, and ugly, but He loves us because that is who He is.

It’s not about what we do or don’t do…whether we are deserving of His love. We aren’t, but He loves us anyway.

Lie # 3 ~ God is Just Like My Father

This one stops me in my tracks, and brushes up against the most tender places of my heart. Nancy begins by saying, “As women, our view of God is often greatly influenced by the men we have known – particularly our fathers.” It is a bit frightening to be as vulnerable as I’m about to be with you. In the darkest moments of my life, Satan has been there to whisper, “Where is your God, now?” I resist that lie, of course, but there is a reason that’s the one He chooses. It’s the fear of being forsaken…left…abandoned…rejected. I believe that God is good, and that He loves me. But, there is a weak spot for me…in the dark moments…when I’m told my baby is incompatible with life, when I’m standing beside the grave of my daughters on a cold November day, when my marriage was rocky for a season, when my mother…the one constant in my life, since I was born…slowly slipped away from this earth before my eyes. I don’t have to embrace that lie. I can resist it, battle it with truth. And, I do…every time. But, there is a reason Satan keeps using it. He knows it’s the most effective one for me. He knows, it’s the one that just might put a chink in my armor.

Nancy’s words are so true, “You must believe me when I tell you that God is not like any man you have ever known.”

“The God of the bible is a compassionate, tender, merciful Father.”

In Hebrews, He promises: I will never leave you, nor forsake you. 

Nancy’s words: …the Father loves us as He loves His Son. If we believed this, could we ever have an anxious or rebellious thought again? Would we not believe in every conceivable circumstance that the divine Father would care for us in the best possible way and meet our every need?

We can’t stop Satan from questioning us…from tempting us to believe His lies…from using the places we have been hurt and weakened. We can’t always stop ourselves from wondering if His promises are for other people, but not for us. But, we can control how we react to the lies presented to us. We can fight the lies with the truth.

Lie #4 ~ God is Not Really Enough

This is a big one. This lie tells us that God is not enough…that His word is not sufficient. We need God’s word… plus tapes, books, conferences. We need God plus close friends, good health, a good job, children, a husband, a house with all the modern conveniences….etc.

This is the lie that causes us to look for comfort and fulfillment in the things of this world. I have shared that it’s an issue for me, for sure. Any time we indulge in the things of this world to make ourselves feel better, we are believing this lie. The woman in the example shared that she went to food for comfort. It doesn’t have to be food….there are many earthly things we look to for comfort and fulfillment when life gets tough. What are some of your pluses you go to instead of believing God is enough?

We must remember the truth, as God reminds us in His word…He is all we need. (Col. 2:9-10)

Lie # 5 ~ God’s Ways are Too Restrictive

Obedience is a pathway to freedom. Is that how we see it? Do we understand that true freedom comes, not in doing whatever we want with disregard to the consequences but in obeying God’s plan for our lives? Do we realize the bondage that entangles us when we indulge ourselves by doing it our way? Do we understand that the restrictions God sets are for our good….they are lovingly placed there to protect us and keep us from the bondage of sin?

The woman in the story shares that she ate what she wanted and felt punished when she tried to restrain herself or deny herself. It doesn’t have to be food. There are many ways to indulge our flesh. Food is definitely one that I can relate to, but it may be something different for you.

Lie # 6 ~ God Should Fix My Problems

God didn’t promise us a perfect life. In fact, quite the opposite. He tells us to expect trials and tribulations. His only promise is to never leave us or forsake us…to carry us and comfort us…through those times as we cling to Him. But, that’s not the way the world we live in thinks, is it? We have immediate solutions to all our problems…or at least we think we should. God does not exist simply to solve our every problem. He is not a Santa Claus, if you will.  And, sometimes, there is a reason that a problem exists. It could be to work in our lives or the lives of those we love for good. It could be to draw us to Him. It could be that we have to walk through that trial in order to comfort someone else one day. Who knows? Our ways…our understanding are not His ways.

God never promised us a perfect life, free from struggles. In fact, when Paul cried out to Him to remove His thorn in the flesh, God responded in 2 Corinth. 12:9 that His grace was sufficient. He wasn’t going to take the problem, but He would Paul the grace to endure it.

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There is so much to share this week, so many truths to delve into to combat the lies. I hope you are reading along with us, even if we don’t hear from you. This book is such a wonderful guide in combating the lies bombarding us with the Truth from God’s word.  There are many more scriptures listed in Nancy’s book that I didn’t list here. His Word is the most powerful weapon in battling the lies we struggle with. I will be leaving the linky off, but feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section or the Blog Frog Discussion.

Next week, we will be covering Chapter 3: Lies Women Believe About Themselves.

Lies and Truth Study Chapter One: Truth or Consequences

Each Monday over the next several weeks, we will be doing a bible study based on the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. There are several ways you can join in with us. First, get a book so that you can read along! You can then join in with us in a number of ways: For those who wish to do a post on their blog and link up, we will provide a linky at the bottom of this post. If you wish to just share your heart in the comments, that’s fine, too. I will also start a Blog Frog discussion on the right sidebar if you wish to delve in further there.

*If you still wish to join and don’t yet have the book, please leave a comment on this post stating you would like a copy of Lies Women Believe… . I have ordered three extra copies for those who need one.
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This week, we are covering Chapter One: Truth or Consequences

Lies and deception. We find them everywhere we look. I pondered those thoughts as I read some of the examples in this week’s chapter. I read each lie about getting a quick fix, satisfying our cravings, losing weight fast, etc. and the truth rang out. So much in our world, in the culture, and media looks good and desirable…and we think we can have it, deserve to have it…right now. As Nancy says…”with no sweat, no discipline, no cost, no effort, no pain”. As I indulge in eating unhealthy foods and linger on my couch after just  a few days of enthusiasm for the idea of a “healthy new me” in 2011, I am convicted by this truth. We have been deceived to think that we can have what we want…quick and easy. And, when it doesn’t work out that way, I often give up.

How does this happen…and why?

It began in a garden…with a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. They lived in the paradise God created for them, eating of the fruit and walking with the God who loved them. Until a Serpent came…with a lie. He presented it to Eve, because she was more easily deceived. We can try and argue the point if we wish, but the argument is futile. Eve, as a woman, was more vulnerable to deception. And, we as women today, face the same battle. It is wiser to recognize the struggle in order to overcome it…than to try to deny it’s existence.

Eve saw that is was good…desirable for food…she took it and ate it.

As pointed out in Nancy’s book, there are four steps to believing and acting on a lie:

Eve listened to the Serpent’s lies.
She dwelled on the lies…growing careless with God’s word…mulling over Satan’s twisted interpretation.
Soon, she began to believe the lie…thinking Satan was right. She wanted to know what God knew…to be like Him. She thought she should be able to eat any fruit, as Satan suggested. She wouldn’t die, after all, right? It sounded good…looked good…became desirable. And, she succumbed.
Finally…Eve acted on the desire planted by Satan, and ate the forbidden fruit.

How does this apply to us and how can it help us be less easily deceived?

Number one, it’s important to know our enemy. Satan uses the same tactics with us that he did thousands of years ago in the garden, with Eve. Why would he change when it works so well?

Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, but pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, but pays with pain; he promises profit, but pays with loss; he promises life, but pays with death.
- Puritan Pastor, Thomas Brooks

He is the liar of all liars…the Father of lies (John 8:44), but he parades himself as an angel of light (2 Corinth. 11:4). That’s the thing. We all agree that Satan is a liar…that he came to steal, kill, and destroy. If he stood before us all ugly and hideous spewing his hatred and evil schemes, we would resist and flee…wanting no part of it. But, he doesn’t do that. He is wily and scheming…planting seeds of doubt subtly in our hearts, making sin look good and desirable, distracting us from true consequences, twisting God’s word. It isn’t even just the sparkling glitz and glamour of the world that Satan uses to deceive us. He may come as someone we trust…slipping in when our guard is down. Even from a well-meaning Christian friend or book. He may come from the television…perfect, together-looking people sharing ideas that seem good. He may come in the form of a quick fix, a financial success scheme, a new weight-loss plan, a big sale at our favorite store, a promotion that comes with a small price.

How can we discern the lies from the truth when they are so integrated into our lives? The answer is as simple, but not always easy to remember in the moment when we are swept into the seduction of the lie. The key is to combat Satan’s lies with something more powerful…the Truth of God’s word. We must measure every idea against God’s word. If it doesn’t fit, it’s not the truth.

Nancy outlines three steps to moving from spiritual bondage to freedom:
1. Identify the areas of bondage or sinful behavior in our lives.
2. Identify the lies at the root of the bondage or behavior.
3. Replace the lies with the truth.

I love the simplicity of that plan, although I’m doubting that it will be that simple. You see, our enemy doesn’t want us to have freedom in the areas where we have suffered bondage. He wants to keep us striving, distracted, tangled up, hopeless, useless. If one lie stops working, he will try another. So, as I’ve shared before, it’s imperative that we pray for one another as we seek freedom in the areas where we are weak. The only thing that defeats the lies….is the Truth. We need God’s word daily.

That brings me to my own confession time. I don’t plan to share every sordid detail of all of my sins here for all of the Internet to view. But, I will share some of my struggles…for the purpose of this study and to ask for your prayers. And, I hope you will share yours, as well.

1. An obvious lie I have fallen prey to has to do with food. I’ve shared before that I struggle with overeating…leaning on food for comfort, as a reward, a stress reliever. I like food…a lot. My one friend calls food her back-stabbing best friend. You could also call it a frenemy, I suppose! Like other lies, it’s presented as something that will feel good…”just eat the Doritos and you will feel better”. And, I do…for a little while. Until I look in the mirror and notice the extra pounds and weariness. “You deserve to indulge in eating out…it’s been a rough week.” It feels good at the time, until I consider that I’ve once again filled my body with unhealthy food and spent money not in the budget…to feel better. That feeling goes away, and I am left with defeat, sorrow, failure, etc. (Please don’t take this wrong. It’s not wrong to go out to eat with a friend once in awhile or even have a yummy snack. Doritos certainly aren’t the root of all evil! But, for me…it is a struggle. I often go to food, instead of going to God and His word for comfort and encouragement when things are tough. I curl up and nestle in beneath my own created layers of comfort. Food is just one of those layers. The result is a sluggish, unhealthy body and a discouraged, weary spirit. The result is bondage to the very thing Satan has dangled in front of me with promises of quick comfort and the reward of feeling good. An easy answer to the reality that people suffer and die from cancer…that mother’s bury their babies…that there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to accomplish the demands before me: work, home, family, ministry. Obviously, I can’t solve those problems and hurts…can’t make them go away. Food becomes a moment of comfort and distraction from all the stuff I can’t fix. The truth is that my God is able to comfort and carry me through the painful things we face in this life. And, if I put things in proper order of priority, there IS enough time to accomplish what’s before me. God will and does equip me. But, when I just throw my hands in the air and eat a Ho-Ho…I miss that victory.Please note: It isn’t about food. We have to eat, after all. It’s my attitude about food that’s a problem. My struggles may not be the same as yours.)

2. Speaking of time…that’s another thing I struggle with. Balancing the amount of time I spend working on the ministry and my other job working with special needs children, with the time I spend caring for my home and family.

3. Another lie I have fallen prey to is that since I am so busy…I sometimes don’t have time to spend in God’s word and in prayer…you know, other than the quick prayers I throw up throughout the day. I believe we will get to this later in the study…and the Truth reminds us…we don’t have time NOT to pray and bathe ourselves in His word! Makes me shudder to think of the times that I have gone out without my armor on…thinking I could do the battles of the day on my own. Grateful for His grace…that He often covered me anyway.

There are more…and we will have to opportunity to delve further into the areas we are deceived in the coming weeks. Next week, we will talk about the Lies Women Believe about God. I am really excited about this one because I think that a true understanding of who God is brings so much power and truth to dispel the lies and puts every other struggle in life in perspective. When we measure the battles before us against the size of our God, everything else pales in comparison. Plus, I remember the first time I participated in this study, I was amazed to find how my view of who God is clouded the truth of who He really is…and led to areas of deception and bondage.

I am using the Companion Guide to the Lies…book, and will break down the study for next week below if you wish to break it down into daily increments. (If it’s easier for you to just read the next chapter and reflect on it, that’s fine too. We are all about grace. This is just an option.):

Day One: God is Good
Read pgs. 45-49
Additional verses to read if you wish – Ephesians 1:3-14 (consider the blessings), Psalm 34:8 and 106:1 (responding to His goodness), Romans 8:28-39 (providing perspective on God’s goodness in painful and difficult situations)
Consider a situation when you may have been tempted to question God’s goodness.
Praise Him for His goodness no matter what your circumstances.

Day Two: God is Loving
Read pages 50-54
Additional scripture about God’s love for us:
John 15:13, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:7-10
How can we reconcile the reality and truth of God’s love for us with what we feel?
Personalize Paul’s prayer for yourself in Ephesians 3:14-19

Day Three: God is Enough
Read pages 54-55
Consider the messages we find in our culture telling us what we need to be “truly fulfilled, happy, and complete”.
Scripture:
Colossians 2:9-10 What does it mean to experience “fullness” and “completeness” in Christ?
Do we really believe that when we have God, we have enough. What pluses to we add on, thinking we also need those to be happy? How can we wean ourselves from the earthly, temporal things to the spiritual eternal ones?
Psalm 73:23-26 (pray these verses for yourself)

Day Four: The Law of Liberty
Read pages 55-56
Consider how God’s laws are beneficial and how obedience can be a blessing.
Additional scripture:
Deut. 6:24-25
James 1:19-27

Day Five: Divine Delays and Denials
Read pages 56-58
Consider how society offers “quick fixes” to our problems. Are you facing or have you faced a trial you’ve asked God to remove, and He has not? How is God working through that trial in your life?
Scripture to ponder:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Job 23:10
Romans 5:3-4
James 1:2-4

Consider some of the lies we sometimes believe about God and the truth of who He really is. Which ones have you struggled with?

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Even if you’re not reading the book, and something rings true for you in these posts, we would love to hear your input. Please refer to the comments section of this post, and to the Blog Frog Discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts and struggles…and prayer requests. If you wish to post on your blog, there is also a linky below.