Bible Studies

Finding Forgiveness in Confession

Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
beatings make clean the innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:30 NRSV

We see sin in ourselves most often when we are in pain. In fact, it often takes the hard circumstances in life for us to even stop and listen to God. And He uses those hard circumstances to keep us from running off the precipice of the cliff of sin.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." 2 Samuel 11:2-3 NRSV

Most of us are familiar with the adulterous affair of David and Bathsheba, the wife of one of his commanders. The Israelites built homes with flat roofs and used their roofs for rest and relaxation when it was warm. Whether or not Bathsheba chose to bath on the roof hoping to catch the eye of the king, at that moment David was presented with a choice. He didn't have to ask who she was; he could have averted his eyes. He didn't.

The result of their extended affair was that Bathsheba got pregnant. In a fit of panic, David ordered her husband, Uriah, to the front where he was logically killed. David then took Bathsheba into his home (and his bed) and his wife, thinking that his sin had been unseen. I'm sure that he believed that he was doing the "right" thing by marrying Bathsheba, that this marriage was a sign of penance toward God. But God wasn't fooled. Manipulation is never part of repentance. Yes, we are to make restitution, but first comes confession. And David hadn't confessed.

Haughtiness is a Superlative Pride

Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the lamp of the wicked—are sin. Proverbs 21:4

I'm dealing with haughtiness right now . . . my own. Haughtiness is a superlative pride, a feeling of being or doing better than others. It's antonym is humility. And I personally think that seeking the praises of those around you is a part of that.

Scripture is very clear. This is sin. And what's interesting is that this verse doesn't talk about sin that we do, but rather sin that we are . . . how we feel and think and make choices. It can be easy, within our church culture, to act like a Christian. In fact, I've had some Christians tell me that they never sin. And if we were speaking only of the sins that we can do, they may be right. Likely they don't kill or steal or commit adultery. But the Lord looks past our actions into our hearts:

The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart 1 Samuel 16:7b NRSV

Two people, standing side by side, could look very much the same from the outside and yet one could be truly humble and one could be truly prideful.

Tozer, in his book, That Incredible Christian, lists the attributes of a spiritual person:

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.

You are not logged in. Full article & information available to those who support the ministry through membership.
Please: Log in or Join Now

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.

You are not logged in. Full article & information available to those who support the ministry through membership.
Please: Log in or Join Now

What is the Root Cause of Your Worry?

A scene from an episode of the final season of "Mad Men" captures a self-doubt moment beautifully. The exchange is between the protagonist, Don Draper and that of his protégée, Peggy Olsen. She recently turned thirty years old and, like most of us, life had not turned out how she expected it would. Peggy has a moment of self-doubt, one to which Draper responded…

"I worry about a lot of things. But I don't worry about you."

Worry. We have a lot of it in life. We worry about our jobs, our families, our place in this world and our recovery if we struggle with addictions, disorders and compulsions. We worry, even though "fear not" is mentioned by God numerous times in scripture. We cannot seem to help it.

So, where does all of this worry stem from? How about from a thought? Check yourself and see if you have ever thought some of these things about yourself.

"I'm nobody special…"

This is a biggie, hitting our core identity and our value. Most of us have encountered lying thoughts about ourselves here. Bullying, abuse and peer pressure often lead us to believe we're worthless and unwanted.

Running from Suffering

Who can say, "I have made my heart clean;
I am pure from my sin?" Proverbs 20:9

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.' . . . Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 22-23 NRSV

I am an Army mom. My wonderful son is a combat MP who has served in Iraq and who, with his company, is returning there this summer. Being an Army mom wasn't something that I chose for myself, but it is something that I embrace because it is what the Lord has chosen for my son. When my first son was away on his first tour, I met many other military moms who were intensely worried for their children's lives. Many asked me how I could be so calm when my son was in harm's way.

Now, I'm no saint (except for the wonder of being a follower of the Lord Jesus). But I am practical and I try to embrace the heart of God as much as I can. So, I am able to walk calmly when my son is in Iraq or my husband is working hurricanes for FEMA because there are certain realities of life which American society has tried to erase and unfortunately which the Church has pushed away.

The first reality is that the only guarantee in life is death. Everyone dies.

Do You Have a Diligently Kept Heart?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23

Recently, I caught a documentary about the Japanese film director and animator, Hayeo Miyazaki. He's creator of anime feature films including, "My Neighbor Totoro" and "The Wind Rises."

Anyway, during this documentary, Miyazaki talked about his father and the impact he had on his world view:

"Being welcomed instead of being chased out probably shaped the way this man looked at the world."
~Hayao Miyazaki

The power of this statement hit me. Looking at this man's countenance, his joyful and peacefully optimistic demeanor shouts the sentiment loud and clear.

As I've been in recovery from both my disordered eating/image and abuse issues, I've had to look long and hard at the state of my heart. It's unflattering and painful to do so, yet quite necessary.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

Our Ultimate Beauty Tip?

Change is a constant in life. And, with my recovery work concerning disordered image issues, this principle has become abundantly clear.

I recently came across some beauty tips, published in 1908; they include the following from Amy Ayer's, Facts for Ladies, Cora Brown Potter's The Secrets of Beauty and Mysteries of Health and My Lady Beautiful, Or, The Perfection of Womanhood by Alice M. Long. I've included them, along with their original 1908 sales pitches.

Brace yourself.

First, there are the meat facials...

"Many Parisian ladies, in the secrecy of their own chambers, on retiring at night, or some part of the day, bind their faces with thin slices of raw beef or veal. For several years a popular lady has used this remedy to feed the tissues of the face, with remarkable results. At thirty-eight she has the complexion and skin of a girl of eighteen."

My Two Cents...

I don't care how young you look; you still smell like meat. Last time I checked, that was not a fragrance made by Chanel. Plus, let's get real. How many ingénues do you actually see with beef on their faces?

Recovery: Practice, Practice, Practice

When I was in kindergarten, I took dance class, with emphasis on ballet and tap. At least once a week, I attended these classes, held in Mrs. Taylor's basement. My strongest memories were the gigantic black bow pinning the back of her bun hairstyle and the 45 records we were given to practice our routines. I especially remember "Alley Cat" and "Practice, Practice, Practice." I spent hours in my tap shoes, striving for improvement on a square piece of plywood. After a while, I grew to dislike that song immensely. "Practice," after all, was tedious, boring and frustrating.

Little did I know, however, so often, would life be as well.

According to the famous myth, the character of Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of hard labor. For a crime against the gods, his assignment was to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. Each time he completed this task, requiring tremendous effort, reaching the summit, the boulder rolled back downhill again.

Tedious, boring and frustrating...

I recently came across this famous Margaret Thatcher quote:

Do You Embrace Everything that is Permissible?

In the past two weeks, I've become aware of two pastors (same denomination, different churches) who are wallowing in self-pity and self-indulgence. Both claim depression and overwhelming personal pain. One used the term "burned out." A Christian who is "burned out?" Who cannot go on in ministry or service for the Lord? Oh . . . my . . . goodness!

On the one hand, I'm angry at these brothers. How dare they, as servants of the Lord and leaders within the Church, be so self-centered as to put their own desires ahead of the desires of the Lord? And, on the other hand, I'm filled with pity for these men who are so deluded in their beliefs that they can justify "crises of faith," doubt as it were, without feeling the least tinge of remorse or fear of God's judgment. (And if they are fearful, not fearful enough to turn back to the narrow path.)

"Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

Your membership & donations make this ministry possible.
If you have been helped please:

Join Us  or  Donate

Contact Us

Syndicate content