Christians Don’t Have A Right To Be Offended

Earlier this morning I sent a few sisters a Scripture from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble. (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭165‬)

Later on, I decided to read from this devotional I’ve had for years, but never finished, and just started reading again a few days ago. And wouldn’t you know, Psalms 119:165 is today’s verse, but in the King James Version:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭165‬ KJV)

The author of the devotional writes about how much better we take it if a friend or stranger criticizes us, but if our husbands mention any slight imperfection, or wound us, or try to iron-sharpen-iron us we get very hurt and offended. Then she says this profound little nugget of truth:

We who have been forgiven by a holy God have no right to be offended. The only “right” we have is to share the grace God has given us with others. Where grace enters, peace abounds.-To Love And To Cherish

I thought that was a great application for us to give grace to our husbands, but also to anyone who offends us. I didn’t contemplate that when we are offended, it’s actually our pride.

“How dare you. Who do you think you are?” More like, “Who do I think I am?”

I’ve been guilty of getting offended, but I never stopped and considered, “I’m upset not just because of her words, but because of my own pride.”

As Christians, we don’t have a right to be offended.

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭4-5‬ HCSB)

Jesus commands us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. Nowhere does Jesus give us a concession to be bitter against another soul. In fact, if we hate someone, we are called murderers, and as the Apostle John wrote, no murderer has eternal life in his heart.

I read a book called Murder By Family, a true story of how the oldest son of a family plotted their murder. Both the mother and younger brother lost their lives, but the father (and obviously the oldest brother) lived. The father said as he was laying on the hospital bed, the Holy Spirit told him to forgive the murderer and he did. His son wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, but he helped the killer (his college friend), get into the home and both were put on death row. The father had every right to be hurt and upset, but he wasn’t allowed to commit murder in his heart against his wife and son’s killers. Yahweh dealt with both of them, and it wasn’t the father’s job or place to render vengeance.

I know vengeance is an extremely popular theme in films nowadays, but Christ doesn’t condone His children avenging themselves. He is our Avenger. All those who have rejected Him and practice evil will be judged. No one is getting away with anything—unless they have accepted Yahweh’s plan of forgiveness and surrendered to Christ.

Let’s not forget that at one point, we also were enemies of Christ:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭1-5‬ HCSB)

So just as we didn’t deserve Yahweh’s grace, yet He granted it to us anyway, we must likewise give grace to our enemies and those who offend us.

Why do you think Christ said, “If anyone wants to follow Me he must pick up his cross, deny Himself and follow Me.” We as Christians deny our old ways of operating; we crucify them and walk in the new way of life, the way Christ commands us to. Out of love for Him, we obey His words. He alone is worthy of anything good, and deserves our complete devotion for all that He willingly suffered and gave up so that we can be forgiven, freed, redeemed and saved.

Let go, love, and let Christ be your Avenger.

What Do You Think Of What The Bible Says On Singleness?

I’m curious to know what you sisters think of these verses, particularly verse 40.

“39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 *But she is happier if she remains as she is [single], according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.* (‭I Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭39-40‬ NKJV)

Please leave your thoughts in a comment.

Much love to you,

Natasha

The Best Gift A Married Couple Can Give Their Children

The other night Ron Hutchcraft from Moody Radio taught something about marriage that left me and Sir Jonathan literally saying, “Wow…”

You know what is the best gift you can give your children [besides the gospel]? To love your spouse.

Ron said that often times in a marriage, if things get tense, the couple shifts their love toward their children. But like another pastor once taught, a husband and wife are not one flesh with their children, but with each other. Your love for one another should overflow to your kids. In that covering of mommy and daddy’s love for one another is where our children find the most security. If the love is getting overshadowed, that is also where they become most insecure and that insecurity can manifest in various destructive ways.

Psalm 127 says children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord. They were never meant to be a distraction or burden for a husband and wife. We mustn’t let them come before our marriage, our one-flesh covenant union. The priorities are to be God first, spouse second, children third. If any of these priorities ever get out of order, chaos and ruin quickly follow.

By God’s grace, my pregnancy hasn’t been brutal in the slightest. I haven’t gone nesting-crazy yet, I’m excited for baby, but not obsessing over his arrival. However, I know when he is here, the demands for both my time and energy are going to skyrocket. But I must remind myself that no matter how much our baby needs me, my husband needs me too. I pray I am able to keep that truth in perspective and care for our little one as best I can, while also continuing to respect and love my hubby as best I can.

Do pray for me. I will continue keeping you all in prayer. I’m here for you, but most importantly, Christ is always with you.

Grace and peace to you,

Natasha

Are you a wife and mother of young children, or have already raised your children and can relate to this topic? If you have any words of wisdom, encouragement—or warning—feel free to share them in a comment. As iron sharpens iron, so one believer sharpens another 🙂

Confession Regarding My Marriage

I really need a new personal journal, but for the meantime I shall confess here, praying that God will use this in one person’s life.

Last night I had a two hour conversation with my sister in Christ who has mentored me since the very beginning of my walk with the Lord. Towards the end of our conversation, she mentioned something that began to shed light on a blind spot I have been totally oblivious of. The bible says like iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens his friend. Yeah, totally started to get refined from that moment of our conversation onward.

It started with a small revelation: I don’t always speak to my husband with respect or with graciousness. I’m not that gentle, quiet spirit that’s beautiful in the Lord’s sight. During this pregnancy, I’ve been increasingly diva-ish; “Jonathan, can you get me water, Jonathan can you take out the trash, Jonathan, can you feed the dog, Jonathan can you give me a massage (that one’s become a several-times-a-day request),” and etc. etc. Sure, I’ll say thank you, but it’s more of a reflex rather than a genuine expression of gratitude.

My hubby has been soooo wonderful and supportive and helpful—and without complaining. That was the second revelation: wow, my husband is a really good husband. I’ve taken it for granted, or maybe have just become so used to it that I started overlooking that precious fact.

He is so not demanding or high maintenance in the least. And he doesn’t point out the specks in my eye. Jonathan could have easily called out my ingratitude a while ago, but he never has. And this isn’t the first time he’s “overlooked an offense” as the Word says in Proverbs. The Holy Spirit is always the One to convict me, to show me where I’m off in regards to me and hubby’s relationship. And that also makes Jonathan all the sweeter. (Side note: Finger-pointing is ugly, and God don’t play that. Check out how He handled the blame-game in Genesis 3. HOWEVER, there is a difference from finger-pointing aka accusing, and gently correcting someone in love. We actually are called to do that).

All this to say, praise God. He is faithful to discipline the ones He loves. It’s always for our benefit and the benefit of others. Because of this revelation, I can now apologize to my sweet husband and if there was any hurt I caused him from my ingratitude, it will now begin to heal, and our marriage will only get better. Hallelujah!

You don’t need to confess publicly on my comments section, but do you need to apologize to someone for a lack of gratitude or respect? Then go for it! Only good can come from humbling yourself. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. May both you and I continue to desire God’s ways above our own, that we might experience Him more deeply and grow more like Him.

Much love,

Natasha

Becoming A Proverbs 31 Woman Day 16

Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭28-29‬ NKJV)

A Proverbs 31 Woman is blessed by her children, and hubby compliments her because he’s pleased with her. I don’t think many of us should expect small children to praise us often, but as they get older, they should notice our efforts if they’re done in love and compassion. The one who will take greater notice is likely your husband. So, does hubby praise you? Maybe not every day, but does he thank you, smile at you, notice things you do?

Sometimes he can be so preoccupied that he overlooks your efforts, but then there’s other times where you’re doing things, but not from love. There’s a cloud of bitterness around you that sprinkles or showers your efforts; serving dinner in cold silence, or slamming the plates down. Maybe you’re frustrated or feeling overwhelmed and so you’re short with hubby, or maybe you complain a lot but don’t realize it.

I lovingly say, I’m sorry sister, but that kind of attitude is not praiseworthy, despite all you’re doing. It is when you serve your husband with love and joy, and reverence that praise comes and he deems you the best wife of all. But if you’re simply doing your wifely duties because they’re duties, and not because you love and desire to serve your family and bless them, it shows.

If you notice praise has been missing from your family, evaluate yourself. Sometimes they are simply overlooking, and God can be testing your heart to see if that angers you or if you’re satisfied with knowing He sees, or it can be because your attitude isn’t right.

I know it can be tempting to think you have reasons for behaving rudely and with bitterness, but I ask you to lay that pride down and accept that God gives none of His children an exception to kindness. He says bless those who curse you, pray for those who use and abuse you, and love your enemies. No matter how you are treated, you are called to respond with love (side note: I’m not saying to accept physical abuse or a husband who uses drugs or cheats on you. You can love him, but do not enable him to continue in this abuse. Separate yourself and your children until he repents for real or leave him. In such cases, God permits divorce and you would be doing your family a great disservice if you remain in an abusive environment. It’s not healthy for you or your children and can very well cause them to grow up and do the same things as their father).

For all other issues, money, sex, career, chores etc. pray to the Father and continue honoring your husband. God can reveal to him that he’s spending too much time away from home or on work or whatever it is. God doesn’t need you to tell his son what his problems are. If you trust yours and his Father, He will speak to your husband about his attitude and actions. Remember:

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. (‭I Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭1-2‬ NKJV)

You can only become a Proverbs 31 Woman by surrendering your whole heart and mind to Jesus Christ. If you cannot submit your fears and doubts and control to Him, you will never be able to walk in such nobility and selfless love. Once you repent of your sins and follow Jesus, He gives you His Holy Spirit to live inside of you and He helps you walk in a holy manner like God. If you try to do this apart from the Holy Spirit, you will fail.

Proverbs 31 Woman Prayer
Father in heaven, in Jesus’ name, I thank You for Your patience and kindness. I pray that You will strengthen me and give me Your patience and kindness, gentleness and humility. Help me to respect my husband, to walk in Your peace, and to serve in love. Dissolve all anger in my heart, I repent of it now in Jesus’ name, and ask that I will be pleased in pleasing You. I pray that my conduct will be praiseworthy and that my husband will repent of any disobedience to You in his life by watching my respectful behavior toward You and him. And help my children to learn gratitude and help me teach them it. Amen.

If Your Marriage Is Falling Apart, Are You Blameless?

The early stages of marriage (the first two years) can be a very fragile time for many couples. This is the foundation-laying period, and the married couple must be very careful what they’re building their relationship on. Bitterness, high expectations, nagging, bickering, rudeness, pride, lying; if these are your foundation blocks, you are setting up your marriage for serious strife at best, and failure at worst.

Money problems, children, job-stress, these are not what cause fighting and divorce; sin does.

When a spouse (or both spouses) have unrepentant sin in their hearts, it manifests themselves to those closest to them, namely, their husband or wife. They play the blame-game and point fingers instead of looking introspectively and seeing what’s wrong within their own heart. And this causes serious problems because sin doesn’t just hurt God, it hurts you and others as well. Sin is like an AK-47 just firing all over the place and wounding whoever is in the vicinity.

If you want your marriage to work, you have to repent. It doesn’t matter how sinful or to blame your spouse is, that’s between him and God. If you want to be right with God (because sin does separate us from Him) then you need to lay down your pride and consider where you’ve fallen short of God’s standard toward your spouse and in life and make a u-turn.

Nothing is too difficult for God. If you think your marriage is too broken for Him to fix, you have what Christ would call little or weak faith and with that kind of lacking trust in God, you can expect your marriage to fall apart.

But when you understand that God has restored it all before; homosexuals, drug addicts, pornography addicts, nymphomaniacs, murderers, adulterers, liars, thieves, then you have to have faith that He can also fix your marriage. It usually takes one spouse to step up and start being that loving, godly example to convict the other one into repentance.

So are you gonna sit there with your arms crossed, waiting for your spouse to repent, or are you gonna realize God isn’t pleased with your behavior and heart either, and you need to seek His forgiveness and start obeying your Master or you will die and face Him with your own unrepentant sin.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait another day, another week. Repent now. You’re not promised tomorrow. Repent for Christ’s sake, whose greatest commands were love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. It breaks His heart when His so-called children walk in hate toward others, justifying that horrific and murderous sin because their spouse is also sinning. He sees your heart, and it crushes His that you think you’re justified in your disdain and sin toward your spouse when He died to forgive and redeem you both and He loves you both the same amount. That’s His son too you know, and with God there are no favorites.

I pray you repent immediately and grasp how much you’ve been hurting and separating yourself from God by your actions and heart toward your spouse. God can and will restore you if you just submit to His will and obey His wise and loving commands.

Stop laying terrible foundations in your marriage and begin building it up in love. Then you’ll experience a real breakthrough.

Dear Ex, I Never Really Loved You

Worldly “love” comes natural. It’s that Eros “love.” It’s erotic, sensual, and highly appeals to the flesh and the emotions. I’ve fallen in this kind of “love” with several guys. And the more physically and emotionally intimate I was with the guy, the more “in love” I thought I was.

No no. I didn’t think I was in love. I was convinced I was in love. But praise Jesus, His Spirit taught me what real love looks like.

See, the Eros love is how people who don’t truly know Christ love. They do not have His Spirit within them, so they love in a purely human and unspiritual way. This love is broken, limited, and extremely harmful. This love is desperately selfish, even when it looks like it isn’t. This love craves what the other person has to give; their attention, their affection, their adoration, their body. This love stems from the heart that is consumed with Self. A heart that is concerned about its own happiness, not the other’s true well-being. And that is why it is dangerous. Because it is not pure love. It is earthly, sensual—dare I say—demonic.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?-Jeremiah 17:9

If before surrendering to Christ, the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked how on earth can it deny its true nature and love another in a pure way? A godly way? The answer is simple: it can’t.

But when a heart is given to Christ and regenerated by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, now this heart can love in the agape way. The unconditional, selfless, pure, sacrificial way.

Firstly, the regenerated heart is no longer seeking to please Self, but God. This new heart prompts the Christian to delve into the Scriptures and get to know God’s heart. This heart is powerful because the Holy Spirit now lives within it and causes it to be like and obey God.

Before I surrendered my heart to Christ on February 22nd, 2009, I truly thought I loved my ex more than anyone. I believed that because I felt such intense burning desire for him, thought about him often, and wanted to see him all the time, I loved him.

This wasn’t love. I was like a human leech, sucking whatever I could out of my ex because it pleased MY flesh. It made ME feel good. I was addicted to him, not in love with him, because like a drug, he gave my flesh a good high.

But after giving my heart to Jesus, things changed. I’ve been married for almost four years (September 10th <3), and hubby and I don't fight anymore. I mention this first because in so many worldly relationships fights are natural and usually often. Outbursts of wrath is a fruit of the flesh. You get upset because in that moment, your boyfriend isn’t making YOU happy. Your Self acts out because it’s currently not getting a good high.

But with hubby, now of there’s ever any tension, one of us lovingly submits, and the one who was thinking selfishly at the moment quickly repents and there is immediate peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I give in to him, he gives in to me, and without a fight. We just lovingly give ourselves and this evades conflict. It’s not all about what I want to do and it’s not all about what Jonathan wants to do. We understand one another and are 99% of the time, gentle toward each other, which is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NKJV)

When two people have the Holy Spirit, and are letting Him lead, this is the outcome. Real love doesn’t have moments of feeling good, it is good. Sacrifice isn’t this painful, horrible notion that is never even conceived of. Sacrifice is given freely because we seek the well-being and benefit of the other—not ourself.

It’s extremely tragic when Christians are in worldly relationships. It begs the question: do you really have the Holy Spirit in you, because the fruits of your relationship are fleshly. They look just like the world, except maybe they attend a weekly service or two together.

My prayer is that Christians in a worldly relationship will repent. It will certainly hurt their selfish flesh, because the relationship can be so pleasing to it at times, but in the long run, they’ll spare not only their souls from judgement (because being in sinful and hurtful relationships isn’t pleasing to God), but will be free to experience true love, agape love. And when you begin loving someone in a Christ-like way, and he or she loves you likewise, you’ll understand what you’ve been missing all this time.