Counseling Archives

God’s Timing Is Always Perfect

Have you ever felt as if God was not answering your prayers the way you told Him to and at the exact time that you told Him to answer them?

God promises to give us the desires of our hearts but not always according to our time table. We must not rush God and leave the timing with Him. We must remember that God’s timing is perfect.

Psalms 18:30 tells us As for God, his way is perfect. From the time we are born until the moment we die, God is accomplishing His divine purposes on this earth.

Waiting on God’s perfect timing is not always easy. Human nature makes waiting for God’s timing a difficult thing to do. Because we live in a microwave society, even Christians find it difficult to wait for anything or anyone…they want what they want…and they want it right now. Psalm 37:7a Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.

When we wait on the Lord, it reveals our trust in the Lord and His timing. As mature Christians, we understand that God operates according to His perfect and foreordained schedule, not ours. Our heavenly Father knows exactly where we are in our lives at every moment. Remember, everything that happens in our lives is for our good and for His glory. God often uses our trials to strengthen our patience. It is our patience which allows our Christian faith to mature and become complete.

God has a plan for each one of us as His children, and He wants what’s best for us. He always answers our prayers in three ways…No…Yes…and…Not at this time. Sometimes we must wait before He gives us the desires of our hearts. Even though it is in our nature to want to rush things up for God and do things in our own strength, the following story is a great illustration about waiting:

One day a little boy was playing outdoors and found a caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. His mother agreed he could keep it if he promised to take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar, placed plants in it for the caterpillar to eat, and put a stick in it for the caterpillar to attach itself. Every day the boy watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed on the stick and started acting strangely. The boy anxiously called his mother. She watched the caterpillar for a minute and then explained to her son that the caterpillar was making a cocoon, and it was going through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly.

The boy watched the changes of the caterpillar with amazement. Thinking it was taking too long and too much of a struggle for the butterfly to emerge, the boy took a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly came out of its cocoon, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings and had to spend the rest of its life crawling around like this, and it was never able to fly.

Sadly, the boy learned that it was necessary for the butterfly to struggle to get out of its cocoon. It was during this struggling process that the butterfly pushed fluid out of its body and into its wings. If the butterfly didn’t go through that struggle, it would never be able to fly. This boy’s intentions were good, but his helping hurt the butterfly.

Consider Joseph and how God worked in his life. Every step of the way in Joseph’s life God was with him. He was with him in the pit…He was with him in the prison, and He was with him in Potipher’s palace. God was working out His perfect will. God needed a man in place to accomplish His perfect will at His perfect time. Think about Esther…God put her in a position of influence at the exact time to save her people.

Many times we want things in our lives that might hurt us. Because God knows us and knows what’s best for us at the exact time, we must be patient and wait for His perfect timing. We must give God a chance to work and to work by His exact timing. When we wait on the Lord, we will see miraculous things happen. Why? Because it’s God’s timing and not ours.

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Counseling: Crisis of Life

SURVIVING THE CRISIS OF LIFE

Everyone experiences crises in their lives. When we choose to love someone, we must accept the possibility that we may lose that person to death or separation. Since crises are an inevitable fact of life, it’s important we know how to survive them. We must prepare for them and be prepared to help others when they go through them.

The Crisis Opportunity: During a crisis, we are thrown off balance, and the crisis represents a turning point for better or worse. If we cope effectively, we can strengthen our potential for a rewarding life. It can be an opportunity that enriches our personality by helping us shake off old habits and establish new ones.

Crisis and Illness: 93 percent of all major illnesses were associated with life changes whose value totaled at least 150 points annually. Not every major life change or crisis produced illness, but several of them together could add up to do so. Of persons with life changes totaling 150-199 points, 37 percent had an illness. When changes totaled 200-299, it was 51 percent; over 300 points, 79 percent became ill. Life events that appear to affect our health, with the point values assigned to these events, are listed here:

Life Event Values

Death of spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Jail term 63
Death of close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Fired at work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain of new family member 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of close friend 37
Arguments with spouse 35
Mortgage over $10,000 31
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Son or daughter leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Wife begins or stops work 26
Begin or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in work hours or conditions 20
Change in school 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Mortgage or loan less than $10,000 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in family get-togethers 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Minor violations of the law 11

First Stage: Denial. The doctor tells a wife that her husband is dying. “No, not me — it cannot be true” is her first reaction. Our first response is usually denial: “It can’t be true.” We say to ourselves, “It won’t happen! It just can’t happen! God wouldn’t let this happen to us after we’ve faithfully served Him.”

Second Stage: Anger. “Why me?” usually follows the denial stage. Someone asked a widow, “Why are you so angry over your husband’s death?” The widow quickly and angrily replied, “I am not angry. Why do you say that?” After arriving home, she pondered her friend’s statement and recognized that she really was angry. Admitting her anger helped her move on to the next stage.

Third Stage: Bargaining. After dealing with anger, an individual may think that if he talks nicely or bargains with God, God may change His mind. Bargaining is often used when divorce is involved. An individual may say, “I promise I won’t step out on you again if you will give me another chance.”

Fourth Stage: Depression. This is the most difficult stage. The depressed individual needs careful attention because he believes he cannot do anything to relieve his suffering. Depression may involve retreating, shrinking or withdrawing, or even committing suicide. An individual going from one lifestyle to another descends into a valley that may be compared to the “valley of the shadow of death” mentioned in the Twenty-Third Psalm. The Psalm says that we do not walk through this valley alone because God is with us. Though a husband or a wife is gone, we are never alone. God is with us during each stage of life’s journey.

Fifth Stage: Acceptance. If a patient has had enough time (i.e., not a sudden, unexpected death) and has been given some help in working through the previously described stages, he will reach a stage in which he is neither depressed nor angry about his ‘fate. Acceptance should not be mistaken for a happy stage. It is almost void of feelings. It is as if the pain and struggle is over, and there is a time of rest before the long journey. There are a few patients who fight to the end, who struggle and keep a hope that makes it almost impossible to reach this stage of acceptance. They are the ones who will say one day, ‘I just cannot make it anymore.’ The day they stop fighting, the fight is over. In other words, the harder they struggle to avoid inevitable death — the more they try to deny it — the more difficult it will be for them to reach this final stage of acceptance with peace and dignity.

Counseling Those in a Crisis: A crisis is a disruption in a person’s state of stability by a disturbing situation. Just as we need to talk about death, there is a need to discuss divorce because divorce is the death of a relationship. Understanding where we are in a crisis helps us evaluate our emotions. It helps to vent our emotions into nondestructive channels. Life changes such as death and divorce have a stressful effect upon people. Negative responses to these stresses lead to physical illness, emotional illness, or possibly suicide. Positive responses can strengthen our potential for a rewarding life and enrich our personality. Reaching the stage of acceptance in a crisis helps our faith to grow and develop. As Christians, we have a certain or “sure” hope. In Hebrews 6:19, we read: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …”

There is nothing — no circumstance, no trouble, no testing — that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is. That is the rest of victory.

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Trials Prepare Us To Be Good Soldiers

Taken from Streams in the Desert (September 30)

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11-12).

Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.
–The Song of Victory

“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.

Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”

“No, no,” saith the angel of that flower; “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, ‘How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!'”

See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers–not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times.

Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?–Spurgeon

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Am I Really Hearing God’s Voice?

Have you ever wondered, “How do I really know if I am hearing God’s voice?

Habakkuk knew God was speaking to him (Hab. 2:2).

Elijah described it as a still, small voice (I Kings 19:12).

There have been days that I have been working around the house, and then suddenly a thought will come to me to pray for a certain person. I firmly believe that thought was the Holy Spirit telling me to pray for that person.

When I was attending Bible College, I had a dear friend who had been a missionary in the Congo. She related a story about a terrible time in her ministry. Here is story as she related it to me:

The rebels were outside our house. We had to hide under the bed to avoid bullets flying through the walls. When we heard the rebels stomping up the front steps, we ran out the back way and climbed over a fence to escape. Some months later, when my husband and I returned to the states, we related the incident to our pastor. As we talked with our pastor, we coincided the time…the pastor then told us that it was during that same time period, he stopped preaching in the middle of his sermon and told everyone to get on their knees. The pastor said he couldn’t explain why…but he instructed the congregation that they must pray for us.

Did God speak audibly to that pastor…no, but it was a sudden urging from the Holy Spirit that told that pastor to pray for those missionaries because they were in trouble.

When God lays people on our hearts, we must become still so that we can sense the Holy Spirit’s flow of thoughts in our spirits.

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

Habakkuk knew that to hear God’s quiet voice, he had to first go to a quiet place and still his own thoughts and emotions.

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still, and know that He is God. The average Christian’s life is so busy that he isn’t can focus his spirit on hearing God’s voice.

It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we can tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. Although the Lord always speaks to us in that “STILL, small voice”, there are many times His voice is drowned out by all the noise around us.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, if we want to hear the voice of God, we must study and know the teachings of Jesus.

John describes Jesus in 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

If we are going to hear the voice of God, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus.

In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. It’s the same with God! Once we’ve prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we’re more likely to hear the voice of God when He speaks to us through His Word.

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Are You Content Today?

For many people it is hard to be content with where God has placed them or what God has given them. They can’t be content with their jobs, their churches, their spouses, their positions, or their possessions. It seems like no matter what they have, they want more things and better circumstances.

Have you ever wondered how Paul could be content with his terrible circumstances. He had been beaten, imprisoned, and physically afflicted…yet he wrote in Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Paul’s Sufferings Listed in 2 Corinthians 11:21-30

2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.

2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Paul learned to be content whether he was rich…whether he was poor…whether he was healthy…whether he was in prison or out of prison. No doubt Paul had his ups and downs throughout his life, but he stressed to us through his writings that we shouldn’t allow things or circumstances to control us. He discovered that his contentment wasn’t in people, things, or circumstances but in Christ.

Are you are struggling with being discontent today? Do you find yourself complaining about your house, your church, your job, or your spouse?

We’ve all been guilty of saying, “If only I had a better car, a more understanding mate, a better house, more money.” The list could go on indefinitely. If you find yourself being discontent today, turn your eyes back to Jesus and focus on His faithfulness and His promises.

Read the following poem. What great insight this 14 year old young man had when he wrote this poem.

    I Never Got What I Wanted

    It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,
    The warm days, And the great outdoors.
    It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,
    The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.
    It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,
    The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.
    It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,
    The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.
    I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,
    The freedom, And the respect.
    I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,
    To be mature, And sophisticated.
    I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,
    The youth, And the free spirit.
    I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,
    The presence of mind, Without limitations.
    My life was over.
    But I never got what I wanted.

    Written by Jason Lehman Read the rest of this entry

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Are You Feeling Unproductive?

Is your self-talk telling you that you are just not being productive? Over the course of our years, our energy levels change. Sometimes it is because of our age, our sleep patterns, our caffeine intake, our health, our diet, or our comparisons. (we look at others as being more productive than we are)

There will always be periods in our lives when we might not feel productive as we once did. If you begin having thoughts of being unproductive, here are few suggestions:

• Get eight hours of sleep
• Try to exercise
• Eat a healthy breakfast
• Overwhelmed…eliminate or delegate some activities
• Look at your time wasting activities: TV, your cell phone, trivial triggers…
• Avoid your self-talk, “I’m no good…nobody thinks I’m not valuable…Nothing I do is right” Studies have shown that upwards of 80% of your self-talk is negative. That number goes up as you put pressure on yourself to get more done.
• Lessen you workload
• Set time limits on your projects
• Change your scenery. If you have a flexible schedule, go to a coffee shop or work from home.
• Disconnect from the Internet…according to research, half of time spent on Internet is procrastinating
• Reward yourself after a period of time working….a cup of coffee, 15 minutes on Facebook
• Don’t distain unproductivity…“not feeling productive” is a great sign that you should step back from your work to recharge and be unproductive for a while. A break will help you recharge and reduce your negative self-talk.

Taking a break from being productive every once in a while will help you become much more productive.

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Take Time to Encourage That Rude Person

George Truett was a very effective pastor for many years in Texas. One day while hunting with his best friend, this pastor accidentally killed his friend.

Several years after that accident, his daughter said, “I never heard dad laugh again after that day.”

Pastor Truett had a radio program. He always closed the broadcast with the these words:

Be good to everybody, because everybody is having a tough time.

Why would he close the broadcast with these words? He understood personally what burdens other people might be carrying. This tragic incident encouraged him to have compassion toward other people.

Every day we run into people who seem rude and harsh. Because of their behavior we find it difficult to like them…yet many times, there is a reason for their behavior. What a heavy heart and horrible situation in their lives might they be hiding that cause their rudeness.

Since God offers His presence to us during our darkest moments, shouldn’t we in turn offer others our compassion to those who are hurting around us.

Father, grant us the candor to admit to each other that sometimes life overwhelms us.
And grant us the courage to help others find help—and to seek it when we need it.

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Article taken from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
(May 12, 2017)

It’s your secret. One that you’ve vowed you won’t share with anybody. Nobody talks about that sort of thing anyway. But inside, the memory of your abortion pierces your heart. And Mother’s Day only serves as a crushing reminder of what could have been. Would you believe God not only sees you in your pain, but He loves you? He does. And He is waiting, ready to forgive your sin and heal your heart.

We pray you will draw encouragement from the following Biblical truths, shared by Sandy Day from Caleb Ministries. Abortion is part of her story, but so is healing. Through the years, she has learned to lean on the power of God’s healing love as she walked through the aftermath of her decision and then a subsequent miscarriage. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s one that God continues to use as she ministers to other women in similar situations.

“When I look at Mother’s Day now, it’s a joyful time to say, ‘Thank you, Lord, that I’ve worked through these things,’” Sandy said. “Now in years past, it wasn’t quite that way.”

Four powerful truths for the woman who has experienced abortion:

1. God forgives your sin, and the guilt of your sin. Sandy knows firsthand the guilt and shame associated with having an abortion. She was 19 and a new Christian when she said she bought into the lies that it was her only option.

“Even though I was a very young Christian, I knew that day I had disobeyed God,” Sandy said. “Even though I believed all the lies, that this is tissue, I’m too young, I’d embarrass my parents, all of those lies. After it was over with, I thought, ‘I have made a terrible, sinful decision, and it’s going to last my whole life.’”

She was committed to keeping her secret to her grave, but she continued deepening her walk with God, and by her early 30s, she felt the tug to release everything to Him. It’s not easy, but she points to Psalm 32:5 and Romans 8:11 as Scriptures that offer encouragement and strength.

After that, Mother’s Day was a different day for me because I knew the forgiveness of God, and I understood the forgiveness of God, and I could truly live there.”

2. God can use this painful experience to bring about good. Consider Romans 8:28. “God never says it’s good, but He causes it to work together for good,” Sandy said, noting God uses pain, affliction and even death to draw us into a closer relationship with Him. From that relationship, healing and then serving in His name is possible.

3. The hole in your heart will heal. But God has to do the healing. Psalm 18:6 declares, “In my distress, I called to the Lord, and cried out to my God. He heard my voice from His temple.” Cry out to Him openly, honestly. The Bible says He hears you.

Referring to Psalm 138, Sandy points out that He is not a far-off God. “He is ever so present in the midst of our suffering,” she said.

Be patient with yourself, Sandy also advises. “[Your heart] will mend. But this is the key: It won’t mend in the way that we think it will because God is doing His work in your heart and life.”

4. God’s loving grace is abundant for you, too. Sandy encourages women to live as a product of the finished work of the cross rather than a product of their past. It takes time, but after turning her life over to Jesus, Sandy can’t imagine any other way today. “It’s just so freeing to understand not only what Christ did, but that we can truly live and walk in it.”

And try not to get sucked into the advertising mania surrounding Mother’s Day. That can turn your thoughts inward. Instead, lift your eyes higher. Of course, that doesn’t mean your emotions are invalid and should be ignored, but don’t let them dominate your thought life. Focus on the Lord instead.

“When we think about Mother’s Day, I think that we need to think about the Lord and His plan and His purpose for me, and not the fact of this is what happened,” Sandy said. “[Ask God], ‘How are You using this in my life, and how can I use it to help somebody else?’”

Draw near to the Lord this Mother’s Day!

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Is This Really God’s Will for My Life?

Knowing and Doing God’s Will

There are many misunderstandings about knowing and doing God’s will. Many people leave churches and make major moves to other cities without really knowing if it’s God’s will.

God’s will might take me where I don’t want to go. Some people think, “If I surrender to God’s will, I might have to go to Africa and be a missionary. God doesn’t want to make your life miserable…He wants your heart. Just like Abraham’s willingness to offer his son. God made an escape for Abraham because He saw Abraham’s heart. Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

God makes His will only clear to certain people. God has a will for every Christian… whether you’re a missionary or a secretary — a pastor or a plumber. God has a will for everyone. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

It must be God’s will if other Christians agree or disagree with me. Just because other Christians agree with you on something, does not necessarily mean that God is leading. It can be misleading to seek God’s approval for man’s choices or decisions. Think of the church voting on Matthias to replace Judas. We never hear another word about Matthias. God had a plan to replace Judas with Paul. Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

It must be God’s will for me to move because I would be more suitable and more useful in this new situation. When the Lord called Moses, he insisted he wouldn’t be suited for the job because he had no speaking ability. Some Christians can be useful no matter where God puts them. He doesn’t necessarily put us where we will be the most useful, He puts us in a place where we can best glorify Him. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

It must be God’s will for me to move so that I can be more successful and have a greater chance for advancement. Think about it…the Lord called Ezekiel to do a special job. He told him that his efforts would be in vain and that he would look like a failure. God’s will may require you to make financial and personal sacrifices to accomplish His will. Remember God focuses His will on His purpose.

If I were in God’s will, people would love me and appreciate me. When you’re in God’s will, people’s love, hate or indifference has nothing to do with your going or staying. Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

God’s will is taking me to a place where there is a greater need. God’s leading has nothing to do with a supposed need. God told Philip to leave the crowds of Samaria and go minister to one individual on an isolated road between Jerusalem and Gaza.

How Can I Know if God Is Leading?

God’s will may not always be clear from start to finish. Usually it’s one step at a time. Maybe that is the reason God tells us to walk by faith and not by sight.

God’s will may require you to replace another Christian who gets out of His will. We do not go looking for God’s will; it comes looking for us. We do not find God’s will; we find ourselves in it; it’s a way of life; it’s being consistently led by the Spirit. Hudson Taylor said, “Our best decisions are when they are left up to God.”

Paul encouraged the Christians at Galatia to walk in the Spirit. There is a big difference between self-leading, Satan leading, and God’s leading.

(1) Self- leading: If you’re leading yourself, you decide by your emotions. Your urges are not consistent, and they fluctuate. One day, you think it’s God’s will…the next day it’s not God’s will.

(2) Satan’s leading: If Satan is leading, he will always make you think it’s urgent. No time to think. No time to pray. It’s now or never. If you delay, it will be too late.

(3) God’s leading: When the Lord is leading, He will give you time. It’s not urgent, but the impression is there… it never goes away. The Lord is patient. He gives you space. There’s time to think, talk, and even disagree with it. He hopes you will go along with His will, but you have the choice to say no. God’s leading is not complicated or confusing. He doesn’t want to make it difficult for you. He always has your best interests in mind.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We must trust the Lord wholeheartedly and not depend on our own intellect or emotions!

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Points for a Pastor’s Wife

A Pastor’s Wife Should…

1. Be able to think quickly. The pastor’s wife must learn to think through various situations in a moment. She has to realize that the reputation of her husband and future of the church is always at stake.

Special Note: If you’re a pastor’s wife and attend church business meetings, remain silent. Many pastors’ wives have destroyed their testimonies by speaking out in anger during business meetings.

2. Be able to remain strong during difficult times. The pastor’s wife must learn to stay strong when it looks like everyone else is running away from problems. During controversies and trials, she needs to stay calm. In the church, finances might be low one year and high the next. Her husband and the women of the church look to her for stability.

3. Be able to keep confidences. The pastor’s wife usually knows things that aren’t yet ready to be released or talked about publicly. She must learn to answer questions and address issues of importance to people without giving out confidential information.

4. Be able to release control and delegate. The pastor’s wife usually wears many hats. Some pastors want their wives to oversee many different areas of the ministry…office, nursery, children’s classes, ladies’ ministries, or if she has small children, he may want her to stay home and raise their children. If she is going to be a good leader, she must be able to delegate. In order to see other ministries grow, the pastor’s wife must trust other women and take risks with them.

5. Be able to see the spiritual gifts in women and help them find places to serve in the church. The pastor’s wife can’t always just focus on her own agenda of ministry. She must balance all the needs of the church. Since the church is built with many gifted people, she should look for opportunities to use them.

Review the following gifts and look for women in your churches who might be gifted in particular areas to serve:

• Gift of Prophecy-she is someone who is able to boldly proclaim God’s Word.
• Gift of Serving-she is someone who sees jobs in the church not getting done, and she uses available resources to get those jobs done.
• Gift of Teaching-she is someone who has the ability to communicate God’s Word so that women understand His precepts and begin to grow spiritually.
• Gift of Exhorting-she is someone who is a real encourager. She is able to comfort and help others be all that God wants them to be.
• Gift of Ruling and Leading-she is someone who stands before other women by motivating them to get involved in serving.
• Gift of Giving-she is someone who shares liberally and cheerfully the resources God has given her…whether it’s her time or money.
• Gift of Mercy-she is one who is sensitive toward those who are suffering…physically, mentally, or emotionally. She is able to feel genuine sympathy with their misery.

6. Be able to make unpopular decisions. The pastor will undoubtedly make decisions that are unpopular. When these decisions are made, some members take it out on the pastor’s wife, causing her to experience feelings of loneliness.

7. Be able to handle conflicts in the church. The pastor’s wife can’t hide under the bed and wish that all the problems would go away. Sometimes conflicts are healthy and bring about spiritual changes in the lives of their members.

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