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’m Glad I Went to PTP This Year

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Yesterday, Ben and I drove home from Polishing The Pulpit. No, Polishing The Pulpit isn’t a class on cleaning (as one of the children at our congregation naturally concluded), but a week-long spiritual feast for people who want to grow closer to God and stronger in their faith. I was able to attend about 30 lectures on practical topics like, “Breathing Space. Three Secrets to Creating More Room in Your Life For God,” “Can We Know We Are Going to Heaven?”, “A Nagging Habit. How to Overcome the Bad Habit of Nagging Before it Undermines Your Marriage,” “How to Dig Deep Into the Bible and Get Into the Meat of the Word,” “The Friendly Preacher’s Wife: How to Stay Strong in the Lord When Times Are Tough,” and LOTS more. Not only are the lessons incredibly helpful and practical, but while you’re learning, you’re fellowshipping with over 3,000 true disciples with like-minded goals and a love that binds us and pushes us toward heaven. I met many brothers and sisters this past week with whom I immediately felt a family bond because of our common faith.  Sitting in an audience of 3,000 Christians singing praises to God is as close to Heaven as I’ll ever get while on earth. I always come home from PTP feeling recharged, restored, and ready to face “the real world” again.

While I was at PTP, one of my favorite lessons I was able to attend was delivered by Mrs. Sheila Butt and was entitled “If You’re Happy and You Know It….” It was about being content as a woman even when faced with tremendous discouragement. I needed it because I’ve been battling discouragement for a good while now. Mrs. Sheila brought to my attention some things about which I’ve never pondered. For example, I’ve never thought about how discouraged Eve must have been after she heard the news that one of her beloved sons had slain the other. I wonder if she was tempted to just give up trying to live for God, or to blame God for what happened. It seems very unlikely that she ever gave in to those temptations she might have experienced, because we know her descendents were faithful, like Enoch who clearly “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22).

Mrs. Sheila also talked about how much Satan LOVES to get to our hearts when we’re discouraged. She said, “Discouragement is Satan’s greatest tool against us. It’s just a part of life, and Satan knows that. He loves to take away your joy and tempt you to blame God for it.”

But then she took us to a passage that made me feel ashamed for ever feeling discouraged. She took us to I Kings 19, where we read about the prophet Elijah, who felt more alone and discouraged than I probably ever will. With his life hanging in the balance after a death threat from wicked Jezebel, and all the other prophets of God he knew slain, he ran for his life and collapsed, likely exhausted, under a tree. It was then that he begged God to take his life. He understood that it is a lot harder to live for God than to die for God. And with that, he allowed himself to fall asleep. He likely knew that the very best thing he could do for his psyche at that moment was to rest. Here, Mrs. Sheila emphasized the importance of good rest when we are discouraged.

After Elijah slept, an angel awakened him and told him to get up and eat. Sometimes we have mornings in which we feel so sorrowful over the struggles we face in our lives that we don’t want to get out of bed because we’re just not sure we can face the day. This is how Elijah felt. Sometimes, just like Elijah, we have to tell ourselves to get up and eat—to face the day. Here, Mrs. Sheila emphasized the importance of eating healthy (and she reminded us that chocolate is full of antioxidants. Ha!)

After this happened, Elijah traveled for forty days and forty nights before hiding out in a cave. God saw him in the cave and asked him what he was doing there. In his sorrow, he answered,

“I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Talk about depressing. I feel like I need to go take a Zoloft after just reading about how that one man felt thousands of years ago. Dejected and miserable, he sincerely felt that he was the only faithful man left on the earth. While my feelings never compare to the way Elijah likely felt, there are times when I feel very much alone in my daily effort to live for God. Sometimes I look around me and I see apathy, apostasy, and lukewarm lifestyles in the lives of other Christians. I see non-Christians who seem to be happier and more fulfilled in their lives away from God than I feel while living in Christ. Like Elijah, I feel alone.

But here comes the good part (I really need for there to be a good part after that, don’t you?): God listened, then his answer is absolutely fascinating. He didn’t sympathize, offer an explanation, or give a pep talk. Instead, He immediately gave Elijah his next assignment. But then, almost as a side note or a P.S., God reminded Elijah of something to lift his spirits. He said: Hey, by the way, Elijah, “…I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Although it doesn’t say, I’m sure Elijah took great comfort and relief in knowing there were still at least 7,000 people in the world who were zealously serving God with all their hearts—just as he was. It likely gave him the courage and stamina he was lacking to carry out God’s will for his life.

This is how I feel after PTP. I came to PTP feeling somewhat alone and disheartened. I left feeling uplifted and revitalized. I left with a fire within me after spending time and fellowshipping with over 3,000 Christians who I know I can count on, wherever they are in the world throughout the year, to be fighting the good faith. I can depend on them to walk alongside me in faith, even if I can’t physically be with them.

The message Mrs. Sheila wanted us to take from this story was this: When you feel lonely and discouraged, remember you’re not alone, and listen to God as he says to you, just as he did to Elijah, “Drive on until you get to your final destination.”

I’m thankful for the reminder. Thanks to all who had a part, great or small, in assembling this spiritual feast like none other. God is good!

How To Be A Prissy Girl (In A Good Way)

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Now that I’ve perhaps caught your attention, let me start by saying that I know I’ve been a naughty girl and neglected my blog and I’m filled with all kinds of sorrowful and regretful feelings about that. While my negligence probably doesn’t bother anyone else one iota, it bothers me and so I hereby promise that I will try to write more often (doesn’t sound like a very binding oath, does it? Well, take it for what it’s worth; a heartfelt desire accompanied with determination).

A little update on the Giselbachs Jr.:

This summer vacation has been one that begs a vacation from the vacation after the whole thing’s over. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but let’s just say it’s been hectic. For one thing, my husband and I have been traveling all over the country this summer for speaking engagements (WONDERFUL obligations for which we ask God and with which we are frequently blessed).  We also took our youth group at Riverbend ( to a week of challenging Christian leadership training at Horizons at FHU. It was a blessing for them as well as for us.

Also, I was given the serendipitous opportunity to be in a play this summer (Fiddler on the Roof), in which I got to play my favorite character, Hodel. It was one of those dream-come-true adventures because I’ve always wanted to play this role, and because I had to sing solos, which is a mountainous feat for someone who is terrified of singing in front of people. I’m glad I did it.

My friend Season, who works as a full-time missionary in China, came to visit me for a few weeks during her summer in America, which was absolutely magnificent. She’s always a trooper running around right along with us like the headless chickens that we are, never complaining about our frenzied lifestyle and always supporting me, bringing laughter, encouragement, and a shoulder to cry on if needed. She’s back in China now and I miss her something awful.

But the highlight of our summer happened about a week ago, when our elders paid for us to attend Polishing the Pulpit (, a week-long all-you-can-eat buffet of spiritual food for growth-hungry Christians. For more on why this event is one you just can’t miss, read this.

While there, I got to hear some amazing lessons on a variety of topics—all of which happened to be extremely relevant to my day-to-day walk with God (that’s because there’s like a million choices of classes to attend at this event. Seriously, you need go).  One of the classes I was able to attend was entitled “Being Our Husband’s Priscilla,” taught by Mrs. Donna Faughn. I was excited to hear this lady speak because she is a well-known public speaker for women AND a former English teacher. She is also the mother of Adam Faughn, who writes a practical, spiritually invigorating blog located at (Ben and I often read his blog together for our daily devotional time at night).

The class was great because I felt like I was introduced face-to-face to a female Bible character that, in my humble opinion, is an unsung heroine in many ways.  The class went by quickly because I was fascinated by the character study and by the lessons I drew from her. That was on Tuesday, and, as luck would have it (or maybe providence), the church with which my husband and I worshiped the next night was doing a summer series on women of the Bible. To my delight, the woman of discussion that night happened to be (you guessed it) Priscilla. Now that I’ve taken notes on two lectures on Miss Priss (thus the title of this post—yes, I nickname everything), I am now the Priscilla expert. Okay, maybe not quite an expert, but, just the same, allow me to share three things I learned about her, and why it matters to me:

1.     She was involved.  For Priscilla, Christianity wasn’t just part of her routine. It wasn’t something she did—it was who she was. Yes, she was there meeting with the saints when people were expected to be there, but that was only a small part of her ministry and service.  She didn’t allow extreme hardships to discourage her, as many do today. Imagine being forced out of your homeland and into a different country just because of your heritage. Despite Claudius’ decree that all Jews leave Rome, Priscilla didn’t let it affect her negatively. She and her husband, Aquila (love how they rhyme—very Dr. Suess of them to get married and all), moved to Rome and picked right back up where they left off. They continued to serve God passionately and they continued to work together making money as tent-makers, which is likely what drew Paul to them (Acts 18:1-2). Even though their business is mentioned, it’s obvious that Priscilla was more interested in the soul-saving business than the tent-making business. She was a seeker of opportunities to share the gospel with others. She and her husband used everything they had and every talent they possessed for evangelism. And speaking of her husband, I love how Priscilla was such a team player. Every time she is mentioned in the Bible, her name is side-by-side with her husband’s.

2.     She was willing to step out of her comfort zone. How comfortable do you think it was to step aside with Apollos, probably bringing him into her home, and correcting him for teaching what was, unbeknownst to him, false doctrine (Acts 18:26)? I would imagine it took a lot of courage, and even more than that, tact. Speaking of having people in her home, we know that she was a woman of hospitality. After all, the church met in her house (I Corinthians 16:19). I would like to think that I could have the whole church over to my house for worship every week without stressing out, but let’s be honest, I’d probably end up being a Martha (Luke 10:38-42). But we’re not talking about her. Priscilla welcomed people into her home, and she was obviously willing to be flexible when necessary. When Paul up and left Corinth to sail to Syria, she and Aquila packed up and went with him (Acts 18:18). Here’s a couple who was not so tied down to worldly obligations that they couldn’t transition in a moment if it meant doing something helpful for the kingdom. She went so far as to risk her life (Romans 16:3-4)—though we’re not sure how—for the cause. Life-threatening courage is anything but comfortable.

3.    She was a teacher of good things (Titus 2:3). Priscilla’s heart didn’t have anything to do with the mundane boundaries of the day-to-day grind. Her heart was all about eternity, and how to help as many people as possible to get there. She partnered herself with her husband to support him and aid him in his work and in his evangelism, which were intertwined—one and the same. She was a beacon of light in a society of darkness and extreme idolatry.

Modern day Priscillas are so rare, aren’t they? But if you think about it, a church simply cannot be the church you read about in Acts 2 unless it contains people like Priscilla. Priscilla makes me look at my own life with shame and resolve. I want to be like her. If my last name wasn’t so ridiculous, I’d probably name my future daughter Priscilla. (I can hear the sing-song voices of mocking children now: “Prissy Gissy wants a Kissy…” Why is it that rhyming words make insults so much more intimidating when you’re in the third grade?)

Anyway, if you think of it, pray for me as I strive to be more of a Prissy girl—in the Biblical sense, of course. 🙂

Encouragement Changes Everything

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In a book called Encouragement Changes Everything by John Maxwell, Mr. Maxwell referenced a study performed on how much pain humans can endure without passing out or dying. The study revealed that a human can endure twice as much pain when someone is beside him offering support and encouragement than when he must endure it alone.

While I may not agree with everything Mr. Maxwell teaches, his point was dead on. The same concept that applies to physical pain rings true for emotional and mental pain.

Galatians 5:25-6:2 :

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

I talked with a sister my age recently who was very discouraged at her new church home in a large city where she was attending graduate school. Her discouragement stemmed from a lack of communication and warmth from the members. She said that people were distantly friendly, but no one seemed to really care about what was going on in her life or about the specifics on how she was doing in her walk with God.

As a family—as the body of Christ—this should never be said about us.  Christians ought to be so tight-knit that none of us ever have to think twice about who our best friends are. The people you feel the safest confiding in and from which you look for support should be Christians, and WILL be if we’re loving each other as Christ loved the church (John 13:13).

I can’t help but wonder whether the example I used at the beginning would also apply in reference to Christian support. Would I be twice as likely to avoid watching that movie I know is wrong for me to watch if another sister was avoiding it with me? Would I be twice as likely to be careful not to gossip if my sister was being equally cautious in what she said? Would I be twice as likely to tell others about the Lord if my local Christian family was soul-conscious every day?

Is it any wonder that God said we have the ability to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds?” (Hebrews 10:24)

What have you done this week to encourage and just be there for a brother or sister in Christ?