Things We Say That God Never Said

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Shut Mouth

Christians say a lot of junk we shouldn’t say sometimes. We don’t mean to, but sometimes we say things to comfort or convict others that we think come from God, but they simply aren’t in the Bible. Here are five things many of us mistakenly believe are scriptural concepts.

Things God Never Said:

1.     “Listen to your heart.”

 See yesterday’s post for my thoughts on this little booger.

 2.     “Everything happens for a reason” (or, “I’m sure it’s all part of God’s will”).

This is probably the worst thing you could ever say to someone who is grieving or facing stressful trials. And it’s not in the Bible. I do not believe that natural disasters and chronic illnesses happen because it’s God’s will. I do not believe that you trip on the sidewalk and bloody your hands and knees because it’s God’s will. I don’t think it’s God’s plan when your skirt flies up embarrassingly while your arms are full and that huge gust of wind hits you. I don’t think it’s our place to say whether it’s God’s will when an innocent person dies because of someone driving under the influence. I think sometimes things just happen because God allows nature to take its course.  And sometimes things happen because there’s sin in the world. I DO believe, however, that for the Christian, all things work together for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

3. “You should accept Jesus into your heart.”

The concept might be true, because that’s obviously what’s taking place when you believe, repent, confess, and are baptized into Christ, but that phrase isn’t in the Bible, and neither is the common connotation that accompanies it—the idea that ALL we have to do is say a prayer and we’re saved forever.

4. “Take your time. Do things in your own time.”

I heard a well-meaning man say recently that if you have a problem with a brother, you should wait until you’re completely over the hurt feelings, the anger, and the frustration before you go to that brother to try to resolve it—even if that takes years. Actually, God pretty much said the very opposite. He said that if you have a problem with your brother, you should go and resolve it before you try to offer Him worship (Matthew 5:23). Otherwise, your worship will be in vain. God never said, “Wait till you’re ready” or “take your time”. We simply aren’t promised tomorrow, much less years. If you have something you need to say to someone, do it now. Don’t let the Lord come back when you still have unfinished business left to do.

5.  “If you decide to follow God, your life will be so much easier.”

God never said this. As a matter of fact, he said life could be harder if you follow Him. II Timothy 3:12 promises persecution to those who live godly in Christ Jesus. So, if you aren’t suffering some kind of persecution for the stands you make as a disciple of Christ, you probably aren’t a true disciple.

How about a little comfort for your day? You see, while God didn’t say those things you might have thought He did, the things He DID say are even BETTER. Here’s another list:

Things God DID say (and I’m paraphrasing):

 1.     Don’t Worry. I got this.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

…And while you’re at it, please take a minute on your own to read Matthew 6:24-34.

2. When you’re sad, I will comfort you.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

3. I care about you.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).

4. I’m not going anywhere.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

“I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

6.     Nothing can separate you from My love.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Don’t get caught up in the common phrases. Feast your mind on God’s Word, and let His words of comfort be your words of comfort.

Don’t Follow Your Heart

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 heart cage

Our modern society is saturated in the self-serving motto, “Just Follow Your Heart.” It’s pretty much the theme in every Disney movie ever made. It’s in all our popular music. The words are heard by thousands all over the world lying on the office couches of professional therapists and sitting across tables from dear friends offering counsel. It’s a lovely, appealing concept because it feels good. It feels good because it basically just means, “Do what feels right.” That’s why so many apply it to their own lives and decisions.

Everyone has done this sometime in life.  Every devastated teen who finds out she’s pregnant unexpectedly after thinking no one would find out. Every woman who finds herself in an abusive marriage because she chose to ignore the signs before the wedding. Every man who can’t believe he’s inadvertently traded a loving spouse, a home, a family, for a reckless fling that meant little or nothing.  Every celebrity who compromised Christian values in order to obtain his or her dream of fame. Every political leader who chooses what he knows will be the most popular rather than what he instinctively knows is right.

Indeed, I remember times in my own life when I “followed my heart”.  Like the time when I impulsively jumped in the Mediterranean with all my clothes on while in Greece (okay, that wasn’t so bad). Times in college when I chose to sit with friends in my comfort zone rather than pushing myself to sit with those who were alone.  Times when I chose to go out with the popular guy rather than the godly guy (obviously, I chose right in the end on that one!). Times when I found myself believing I could help to change an abusive boyfriend.

But “following our hearts” isn’t just a modern mistake people make. Its billions of deceived go back to the very first man, who followed his heart when he listened to the beguiling voice of his dazzling wife as she advised him to eat the forbidden fruit with her. That same faulty state of mind was inherited by Adam’s firstborn as he reasoned, “surely God would accept my gift, since it comes from my heart.” That same reasoning is seen in so many other Biblical figures who believed God would accept anything from the heart, such as the “strange fire” created by Nadab and Abihu, and the impulsive jerk reaction of Uzzah when he reached out to steady the Ark of the Covenant with his hand. Most people today use the same logic (or lack thereof) when they reason, “Surely God will accept the worship that comes straight from my heart. The minute details aren’t what matters.”

Did you know that the Bible says an awful lot about following your heart? For instance, when the world says, “Go with your gut,” God says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). When the world says, “Do what feels right,” God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Obviously, the heart is a faulty source of direction for our lives, however right it may feel.

You see, God never intended for us to be led by our hearts (our feelings). He wanted us to be led by His Spirit—the will and testament He left for us when he sacrificed His Son on the cross (Romans 8:14). God made it possible, through that sacrifice, for us to be led by divine wisdom rather than fleshly emotions. Focus on these words from Galatians 5:24-25: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” But I have such passion, such deafening profundity in my feelings! Am I to just disregard how I feel about everything?! Fortunately, God gives us an alternative—an answer for what to do with our misleading hearts. He doesn’t tell us to ignore or disregard our feelings. Instead, He tells us to redirect our feelings toward Him, allowing Him to form them.

My favorite solution for this quandary is found in Proverbs 4:23, where the inspired author writes, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” If we value our dreams and earthly desires more than we value what God has in store for us, we can easily be led astray from what truly matters. Jesus knew this when He said, “…whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Our Lord made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross—He gave His everything for us, and He expects us to, in turn, make ourselves living sacrifices for Him. I have to remind myself: If God asks me to give up something that I care about, it’s because He has something better in store for me.

I may not be all the way there yet, but I believe that, as I grow older, I will, with God’s help, also grow in wisdom. With that growth, I believe that what’s in my heart and what God has planned for me will grow more and more one in the same—that my feelings and God’s plans will become more aligned as I learn to trust Him more. That’s my prayer anyway. May it be your prayer as well—as you face the tough decisions with which all of us female soldiers are faced every day.

And remember to follow your heart  do what feels right  “trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Why I Don’t Have a Full-time Job (…and why that’s okay)

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I am 26 years old. I have a Bachelors degree. I have a somewhat hefty job history. I suppose I have an average amount of talent and skill. So why, you might ask, am I not employed full-time? Here are four reasons:

  1. I like to be able to spend time working alongside my husband in the Lord’s service.

One of the reasons we chose for me to not work full time is because my husband and I purposed for me to have the time to assist him in his work and to spend more time in the Lord’s service in general. Because I’m not working full-time, I’m able to teach a mid-week ladies Bible class, go visiting with my husband and others, use our home for frequent hospitality, and focus on my writing. My husband and I are currently writing a book together, and while it might be possible, it would be very difficult to make decent progress on that project while focusing my time and attention on a consuming career. And because of the flexible nature of my part-time job, I’m able to travel with my husband for speaking engagements, seminars, lectureships, and mission trips, like the African one we went on last month.

When I was teaching full-time, I felt constant frustration due to the all-consuming nature of the job. Lesson plans, grading, deadlines, parents, students, meetings, and other school related stresses were all I could think about. In the shower, in the car, while I was out with friends, when I was on a date, and while trying to sleep at night, I was constantly stressing over work. My house was usually a wreck, my meals were usually microwave dinners, and my eyes always had ugly dark circles under them. Now, that was only my first (and only) year of teaching, and I understand that it would likely have gotten easier, but I know enough long-time teachers who agree that it’s a job from which you don’t get to go home and escape.

I love the blessing of being more free to work in other areas of my life.

       2. We can live without the extra income.

Before you go thinking we are rich by the world’s standards, let me explain. My husband and I sometimes struggle to make ends meet. We don’t live luxuriously by any means. There are lots of times when we’d like to do something fun or eat out, but we just don’t. We buy our clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. But, thanks be to God, we have plenty to eat and we are able to pay all of our bills with Ben’s income as a preacher. We understand that we could live a lot easier with two incomes, but we like being able to live on just one, because…

     3. We are preparing for our future family.

You might be thinking: Well, that doesn’t make any sense. How do you prepare for your family by choosing to make less money than what you could be making?

Here’s how: My husband and I long ago—long before we even said “I do”—decided that, Lord willing, I would be a stay-at-home mom once we have children. We believe that if your circumstances at all allow it, it’s the very best plan because it’s God’s plan (Titus 2:5). It’s so important to us that we would share one car, never eat out,  and live even more simply than we do now if it meant I could stay at home and raise our children myself, rather than handing them off to a daycare or someone else who would be raising them. We also decided early on that if I were to work before that first little one comes along, we would do our best to save that money rather than spend it. We knew that if we got used to living off two incomes, it would be very difficult to adjust to living with just one after having kids.

     4. I don’t have to have a career to feel valuable.

I understand that in today’s culture, what I’m saying sounds ridiculous and rather archaic, even. This is because we’ve convinced our women today that if they don’t pursue a professional career, they are lazy and worthless. I am not given to this persuasion, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not affected by the people who are. It’s hurtful and frustrating when people make statements insinuating that you’re not working if you’re not “working” (hope you caught what I meant there!). I believe God designed women to feel fulfillment in being keepers at home, in loving our husbands, in raising our children in the Lord, and in using our skills and talents creatively to enjoy life and influence people in His name.

As a disclaimer, I want you to know that I didn’t write this to condemn anyone who views this topic differently than I do. Please do not say that Hannah Giselbach says that you’re going to hell if you’re a mom with a career. You can say, however, that I believe and am making my own decisions as if it’s a lot easier to get your family to heaven if you love the Lord and spend massive amounts of time every day putting Him into the hearts of your kids. (I got that directly from Deuteronomy 6.) I think it’s God’s design for husbands to be the breadwinners and for wives to use their talents for domestic work, for hospitality, for personal evangelism, and for child-rearing. (I got that from Titus 2 and I Timothy 5.)

I’m happy with my part-time nanny job. It’s preparing me for motherhood in more than one way—I’m learning a lot of parenting skills while saving money for the time when it’s my turn. I’m also happy with it because it’s fun, I enjoy it, and I know it’s a temporary occupation until I’m able to focus all of my attention on the most amazing job of all: Full-Time Motherhood!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I look forward to your feedback!