Relationships, Bible Studies

Are You a Slave of Fear?

"...We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace." Jeremiah 30:5


"Fear" is spoken of over 500 times in the Bible. So, to me, that signifies it's a topic worth noting.

I believe the 1980's science fiction film, "Bladerunner" makes a powerful statement on fear.

There are various discussions about the story and the complexity of the Roy Batty character in particular. He's often viewed as the villain. But, if we dig deeper, perhaps there's more to the story.

Batty is a kind of futuristic robot who has an expiration date of four years. This tactic is implemented to ensure that, in the event a robot develops troublesome feelings, emotions and agendas, humanity is safeguarded by the possible destruction the robot could cause.

However, Roy Batty has apparently experienced these turbulent human emotions firsthand; hence, he is viewed as that much-feared threat to human beings.

Therefore, the "bladerunner," a robot killer for hire, is assigned the task of destroying him before it's too late.

And, after Batty's rampage and search for knowledge about his existence, he eventually shares his observation on fear.

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:

"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."

Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.

And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.

So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.

First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.

Meddling or Helping - Which One Is It?

One of my favorite television series, "Mad Men" offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:

"Stay out of it."

Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn't it?

Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?

This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c'mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.

The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:

"Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."

What's in a name?

But now thus says the LORD that created you..."Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

What's in a name?

We cannot get around that question. From the start, we are named. As life continues, we bestow more names to children, pets, toys, places, projects, et cetera.

This naming business is far from insignificant. Consequently, it can often subject to negative, extremely personal and abusive behavior. It can challenge the recovery from our individual hurts, histories and obstacles.

I've personally encountered this toxicity. I have had people call me derogatory names; profanity and misogyny have often been at the center of those names.

It's startling, infuriating and potentially harmful to my health and recovery. Often reeling from these encounters, my only recourse is to

Stretching BoundariesPremium Content

Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up. Proverbs 22:28 NRSV

"We are here taught not to invade another man's right, though we can find ways of doing it ever so secretly and plausibly, clandestinely and by fraud, without any open force. Let not property in general be entrenched upon, by robbing men of their liberties and privileges, or of any just ways of maintaining them. Let not the property of particular persons be encroached upon. The land-marks, or meer-stones, are standing witnesses to every man's right; let not those be removed quite away, for thence come wars, and fightings, and endless disputes; let them not be removed so as to take from thy neighbour's lot to thy own, for that is downright robbing him and entailing the fraud upon posterity." ~Matthew Henry

There are many different kinds of boundaries in life. Physical boundaries, such as those which border property; social boundaries, such as those outlined by manner and courtesy; relationship boundaries, such as those in families; spiritual boundaries, such as those outlined in scripture. It is often the human tendency to test or even stretch boundaries. Think about our kids. As they were growing up, didn’t they (sometimes? often?) test the boundaries we set, seeing if they really couldn’t do this or that?

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How is Your Spiritual Heart Health?Premium Content

God has been teaching me His way concerning heart health. The condition of my physical heart mirrored the state of my spiritual heart. Through a physical and spiritual heart catheterization He exposed blockages, which left untreated, would be my certain physical and spiritual demise. He exposed areas of my heart that were still wounded and thus divided. I suspect I am not alone in this process.

According to the parable of the sower, Jesus teaches that It is from our hearts that we gain all spiritual guidance and understanding.

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" Luke 8:15 NIV.

"All valid spiritual direction comes to us through our heart-the seat of true knowing and our "eyes and ears" in the spirit. If we discern the "will of God" it is through our heart. Knowing our true identity and destiny is achieved through our hearts as well." "Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You", pg.67, published by Shepherd's House, Inc. revised version 2000.

As a direct result of these remaining heart blockages, I was no longer able to fully hear, retain, or re-produce a good crop from the word that had been so wonderfully planted in my heart for decades. The ability to correctly discern, know and understand Papa's will or my true identity and destiny as Papa's beloved son were being robbed from me. In this state, my capacity for joy was weakened. Of course my loved ones were profoundly affected by my heart disease as well (which of course there has been profound mercy and the amazing grace of forgiveness).

When your heart has blockages, your core identity becomes at best skewed and can even lose touch with reality. You are less able to live from the new heart Jesus gave you as your birthright. You even can end up not behaving or acting like who you truly are-an adopted child of God. Probably the most devastating part of this condition is being blocked from enjoying Christ in your heart. He-of course, will never leave us or forsake us-but our intimacy with Him can be diminished.

I am being so transparent about this in hopes to impart the courage for you to ask Papa to search your heart and know truth in your inner most parts, as King David did. This is why he was "called a man after God's own heart."

The single goal of heart healing is to

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My Husband is Too Controlling. What Can I Do?Premium Content

Ask Angie: My husband is too controlling, every time I think things are going to work out, they go back to the way it was before, he bit my face a couple weeks ago, I didn't do anything, he starts feeling a certain way and thinks I'm lying to him. I've been with him for 16 years, and it hasn't gotten better, he's made some changes, not as violent, but the constant grief I get, I can't take it anymore... my heart is breaking.

One of our kids is acting out, the 2 older ones don't want to be at our house, he's great with our baby. I don't know what to do. My family is about to wipe their hands of me because I keep going back... I don't know what to do, I want to be a good wife and mother, he says I'm letting my kids tell me what to do, but I do see their pain, my older two, especially my middle one who is a great boy. Thank you for listening.

Marriage Guidance: Please print out this marriage column and preview and discuss it with your husband.

Why do people try and control others? What does controlling someone mean? People who control others with words, threats, fist, lies, and manipulative behavior usually have underlying insecurities within themselves. Perhaps they are afraid of losing something or someone. They have to get to the bottom of these insecurities to understand how to accept the things they cannot change and the courage to only change the things they can – themselves.

Your husband’s behavior is definitely not right. Using any kind of verbal or physical force to get your way is controlling behavior. Your husband may need to get some spiritual counseling if he behaves violent towards you. Please have him contact us for some biblical guidance in this area.

Don’t misunderstand the usage of the word "control." Only when a husband or wife controls in a negative way is it actually controlling or trying to change that person. If couples have to scream at one another, demand things from one another, hit one another and manipulate one another then it is using controlling behavior. But if a husband or a wife is acting out as part of their God-given position then it is not control. Christ is a husband’s director and a Godly husband directs his wife and family under the direction of Christ.

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My Husband Cheated On Me. I am Having Major Trust Issues.Premium Content

Ask Angie: My husband cheated on me and says he's sorry. It went on for 4 1/2 months in front of me, whether it was text messaging while I was cooking dinner or helping with homework, or just while I was in the shower and all during work. Then he made a trip to Dallas and had her meet him there. I found out about them when I saw a text message on his phone that she sent him a song and loved him and he said he loved her… when confronted, he denied it and then when I had facts I could place together, said he didn’t know why he did it and it was nothing. I asked if it was nothing, then why was he in love with her? It goes on… he says it’s over and hasn’t had any contact with her, but I know he has another email address and refuses to give me any passwords to check out his story. I am obviously having major issues forgiving him and trusting him again. I don't know what to do. We've talked, we've expressed, we've been intimate; however, he never lost his intimacy during the 4 ½ months, so I feel as if he is just doing this and will make it seem as if we are doing fine, then go back to the way it was. Help.

Marriage Guidance: I can certainly understand the suspicions you have towards your husband. But suspicions will not repair and restore your marriage. Please print out this marriage column and read it together with your husband. Then you can both come together in Christ and begin working on the broken links of your marriage. It takes both wife and husband to put in effort towards restoration. I would like to encourage you to take care of YOU! Your husband NEEDS to take responsibility for his actions and change if he wants to really SAVE this marriage.

For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes NOT from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

Since we know that lustful thinking and behavior is a worldly thing, it means then, to be able to save your marriage, you both need to come to Christ in repentance and ask for forgiveness of your sins…and live your marriage under the influence of Jesus Christ. If you want to be forgiven for your trespasses (adultery) you must be willing to forgive others their trespasses and repent of any wrong doing you have done against the marriage. If you are not willing to do that then I can’t support or encourage you any longer. You have come to the wrong ministry for help.

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When Loving a Spouse is Difficult

Ask Angie: I cannot seem to find love for my husband. We have been through difficult times and we were not able to work together on anything. There were months when we did not speak to each other and just went on with our lives without communication. I have been hurt so much…. It is wrong but I cannot find forgiveness for him nor seem to be able to detach with love. Our children see the problem we have and now have issues in their lives since we did not show them a good marriage/ family…I have been working on my spirituality so much but still find that my heart is heavy.

Ask Angie: Dear Angie, It's me again. I was reading the stories about the women who are married to alcoholics. My husband is not an alcoholic though he displays the same kind of behaviors. Life with him is unbearable at times. He told me last night, again, that most of the time he does not want to be married, and during those times he treats me like he does not want to be married. The few times he does want to be married, he looks at me with kindness, it's very short lived. Then the cycle repeats itself. I am tired. I am getting physically sick from it. How does a Christian woman stay with a (Pastor) husband that 95 percent of the time does not want to be married and shows his wife no love?

Marriage Guidance: I will address the issues that are italicized above. Both of these women are experiencing similar issues in their marriage. Although one is having difficulty loving her husband, the other's husband is having difficulty loving his wife. Please print out this marriage column and give it to your husbands. Read through the article resources together. Talk about the questions at the end of the articles. Marriage needs both husband and wife to be willing to put in the effort.

Using Money to Gain "Friends" & Control Your Life

We are deluged with pictures of parties, frivolity, and laughter... in commercials and advertisements. Everyone seems so happy! And all because they bought ___________ (fill in the blank). In other words, they had money. And because of the money, they had friends.

Wealth brings many friends,
but the poor are left friendless.
Proverbs19:4 NRSV

Proverbs confirms it. Money brings friends. But what kind of friends? More importantly, what will happen to those friends when the money disappears?

Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin. Proverbs 18:24 NRSV

A person who is my friend because I have the money to entertain them or to give them isn't really my friend.
A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17 NRSV

If someone is truly my friend, she will be there even during the hard times.

But this proverb is more than just about friends. It's about money and how we desire it in order to change and control our lives. We think that with money life will be easier; things will be better. We might even be more popular. The Lord Jesus talked about money:

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