Tag Archives: Christianity
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for]your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (AMP)
When it comes to loving narcissists, it feels like an impossible task. They aren’t easy people to love, because of all the cruel & horrible things they do to their victims. How can you feel all warm & fuzzy towards someone who deliberately hurts you?!
You can’t. But, the good news is God’s kind of love isn’t always about the warm & fuzzy feelings. Reread the above Scripture again if you don’t believe me. It says that “love is unselfishly seeking the best or higher good for someone.” You can do that without feeling warm, fuzzy feelings.
Probably about two years ago by now, God put it on my heart to pray for some people who have hurt me a great deal in my life. Then, He kept wanting me to add to the list. Daily I pray for many abusive people who have been in my life, including my narcissistic parents. Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle for me to pray for such mean people at first, but it’s gotten much easier as I’ve gotten in the habit of praying for them each morning. I even set a reminder on my cell phone to remind me to pray each morning.
It has helped me too, to realize it’s possible to love someone without liking them. We are called to love people, not like them, & there is a big difference. Loving someone means you want the best for them while liking someone can be more about the “fuzzy” feelings.
You may not believe it, but it’s possible to love narcissists God’s way. Simply wanting the best for them is Godly love. You may not be able to stand the sight of someone, yet love them God’s way.
In fact, there are loving behaviors that most likely narcissists won’t think are loving, but they truly are. Setting boundaries, for example. Boundaries not only protect you, but they encourage the other person to behave in a healthy way. Sometimes even ending a relationship can be a loving thing to do if you think about it. Just being in the presence of a narcissist can stir up strife. Removing yourself from their life means you are also removing one person for them to abuse. It can be a very loving thing to go no contact for yourself as well as a narcissist.
Remembering these things has been helpful to me. Aside from enabling me to pray for them, & God wants us to pray for our enemies, it’s given me peace. I’ve been accused of hating narcissists that I have ended relationships with, which left me feeling shame. Thankfully God showed me the truth though, & that truth is that I do love them, I just don’t like them. That is important to know because it eliminates guilt & shame that have no place in your heart.
I have friends who follow the Pagan religion. Naturally, they follow Pagan pages on Facebook. Often they share things that inspire them or that they like. It’s not often “join our religion, it’s awesome!!” type posts. In fact, that is rare. 99% of the time what they share are stunning nature themed pictures. A white owl, baby foxes playing, a pretty path in the woods, a wildflower meadow, a starry night… beautiful scenes.
It just crossed my mind that the Christian pages I follow don’t share such images. They share lovely & inspiring things, of course, but I haven’t seen anything like what the Pagan pages share- simple beauty in nature.
I understand that Paganism has entirely different fundamental beliefs than Christianity. That’s why I’m Christian & not Pagan- Christian beliefs make sense to me, Pagan ones don’t. That being said though, there is one thing that I think Christians need to learn from Pagans. They appreciate & respect nature. They enjoy its beauty & what it has to offer. They understand that herbs & plants have healing properties & use them. (True, they can be used for spells & such, too, but simply to enjoy the healing benefits, there isn’t any magic involved.)
Why don’t more Christians do that same thing? I mean, we obviously believe God created everything- why don’t more Christians take the time to appreciate what God has created? Why aren’t more Christians concerned with animal abuse? And, why do so many object to herbal remedies when they are often much safer & more effective than pharmaceuticals?
It’s sad to me how few Christians think that way. I actually unfollowed one Christian page on Facebook some time ago because so many said terrible things about animals- how stupid they are, we don’t need them, “the only way I like animals is barbecued” & other awful things. And, those who professed to love animals were mocked & shamed.
Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with appreciating & respecting nature. I love staring at the sky on a clear, starry night. A full moon is also one of my favorite sights, as is the colors of changing leaves in the fall. I also love the sounds of a thunder storm or quiet beauty of a blizzard. Obviously, I love animals- I brag about mine plenty! lol I also use valerian root capsules & lemon balm for anxiety & St. John’s Wort capsules for depression rather than prescription medications, & have mentioned that in several of my books.
Doing such things hasn’t compromised my faith in God one bit. In fact, it makes me feel closer to God when I stare in awe at the moon & stars. Taking in the beauty of nature helps keep me grounded, calms my anxiety & makes me very grateful for the wonders around me. Being close to my furkids makes me grateful that He has seen fit to bless me with these adorable critters. They bring me an incredible amount of joy. I’m also grateful for the natural remedies to help my mental health, especially knowing I don’t run the risk of awful side effects so many prescription anti-anxiety & anti-depression meds have.
Dear Reader, I hope if you haven’t considered these things before, you will now. God made the Earth & everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What could possibly be wrong with using & appreciating the beautiful, useful things He has made, even thanking Him for them?
Remember my recent post about my father? Last Monday, October 23, my father passed away.
I didn’t visit him once in the hospital. As I’ve said before, no contact means no contact, no matter what. It’s been very hard though. I wished I could’ve said goodbye, but I knew not doing so was my only option. Every time I doubted & asked God if I should go, not only would He tell me no, signs came out of everywhere telling me not to go. It was pretty incredible! He told me mentally & physically, I couldn’t take it. The stress as well as the vicious people involved would be too much for my mental & physical health. Even so, staying away was still hard. Apparently it bothered others as well judging by the many hateful messages I’ve gotten from people who don’t even know me. Little did I know that more was happening, & staying away truly was the right thing to do in many ways, not just for myself.
I’ll discuss it in more detail in the next post, but I received a word of knowledge that my father was born again at the very end of his life. Me staying away was a part of why that happened, because it meant my father finally cried out to God.
The reason I’m telling you this, Dear Reader, is not only to give you an update, but also to let you know that God is truly good & faithful. If you know in your heart He wants you to do or not to do something, listen to it! Even if you don’t understand why, know He has a very good reason. Don’t cave into pressure from anyone! They don’t know your situation because they haven’t lived it- why would their input have any value? They also aren’t you, so even if they know your situation, they would handle it differently because you two are different people. They don’t know your heart & mind well enough to know what is best for you. God, however, does. Listen to & trust Him & only Him! He is well worth listening to & trusting!
Also, never give up praying for someone. You may not see them give their life to Jesus, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. It happened with my father one hour before he died, while comatose. If that was possible, isn’t anything possible? After all, Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (KJV)
If you notice, many Christians are terrified of being called judgmental. They often quote Luke 6:37 which says, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (KJV)
While the Scripture & others like it are certainly good, there are other places in the Bible that mention we should judge. Did you realize that?
- Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
- Acts 4:19 “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”
This is no conflict in God’s word. In studying what it means to judge & praying about it, I think I figured this topic out.
Being judgmental is looking down on someone. As an example, being an author, books have always been an important part of my life. If I looked down on those who don’t like to read or thought I was smarter than them, that is being judgmental. Thinking less of a person who is covered in tattoos or has a lot of piercings than of someone who dresses conservatively is also judgmental, as is thinking someone with an expensive new car is better than someone driving a 27 year old compact car.
Then there is the activity of judging. Judging is more like discerning. Before trying something new, when you decide whether or not that activity is good for you, that is judging. It’s also judging which car to or house to buy. Deciding which job offer is going to be the best one for you to take is judging. Some people also have a natural inclination towards judging in their personality. I am one of them. I judge about every situation automatically. Even if a friend wants my advice about a problem. I tell her what options I think she has, which I think is the best one for her situation & why I think it is her best option.
There is nothing wrong with judging. In fact, it is necessary to make good decisions. Being judgmental though? It’s not good at all. It not only hurts people but it goes against God’s will for His children.
Something I’ve wondered about & I’m sure many others have as well is why does it seem like so many bad people lived charmed lives while the rest of us struggle on a daily basis. I mean, just look at most narcissists as one example- they often go through life with few health problems, while those around them have illnesses & diseases of all kinds. Many narcissists are very successful in their careers or financially comfortable. They also never seem to have any consequences for their evil actions. Meanwhile, their victims are often sick, living with mental illnesses such as C-PTSD, depression & anxiety & often broke financially.
I know, the Bible says we aren’t to worry about this. Psalm 37:1-4 says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (KJV) I do trust God, & don’t get mired down in envying such people. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been curious over why things are this way.
Recently, the movie “God’s Not Dead” came on television & answered this question for me. What a fantastic movie!! If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Anyway, there is one scene where a very successful man visits his aging mother with dementia in the nursing home. As he visits her, he says that he doesn’t understand why this happened to her. She prayed & was a very good person, yet this happened to her. Meanwhile, he had no problem lying or cheating to make his money, & living the good life. His mother had a moment of clarity, & told him the devil leaves some people alone so they never feel the need to reach out to God for anything. She quickly returned to her sad, catatonic type state after saying this. The scene was quite moving.
The wisdom in that lady’s statement made so much sense to me! It answered a question I’ve had since I became a Christian over 20 years ago. These people aren’t blessed. God isn’t blessing them in spite of the bad seeds they sow. The devil is simply not opposing them like he does with many people. Instead, he allows these people to live successful lives, so they won’t feel the need to reach out to God. Most of us became Christians in dark times so it seems logical to have some people avoid dark times thus making them feel no need to reach out to God.
Believe me, I’m not one to blame the devil & his demons for every bad thing. I believe his power is limited, & he isn’t an impressive foe. However, I do believe he tries to influence people & creates some bad circumstances with his limited repertoire. It makes perfect sense to me that he would think this way.
Honestly, I can’t say this is true, or back it up with Scripture. I’m just saying I think this may be the case. Since I found it interesting, I thought I would share it with you, Dear Reader, in case you think so too.
I recently read about a term called spiritual bypassing. It was coined by a psychologist named John Welwood in the 1980’s. The term is used to describe when a person uses their religious beliefs to avoid dealing with uncomfortable things, healing old wounds & meeting important psychological needs.
While the term applies to all religions, I thought of it as to how it relates to Christianity since I’m not overly familiar with most other religions & most of my readers are also Christians.
Also, please know that I’m not trying to judge anyone. I’ve been guilty of doing some of these things myself.
Becoming very active in church activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being active in your church, but when you spend more time at church than with your family, something is wrong. It needs to be done in balance. Otherwise, resentments can build & trouble starts in your relationships. You may even develop a superior attitude because you participate so much in your church.
Judging people for being angry or hurt. The Bible says we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. Jesus said we are to forgive those who trespass against us in the Lord’s prayer. Seems obvious to me that we’re going to feel angry or hurt sometimes, otherwise the need to forgive wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. Remember, there is nothing wrong with anger or hurt. They are God-given emotions that tell us when something isn’t right. It’s what we do with the emotions that can be wrong.
Ignoring your own anger or hurt in favor of saying you forgive that person. Maybe you think it makes you holy to claim forgiveness rather than facing your negative emotions, but it only sets you up for problems. Emotions demand to be heard, especially the strong ones like anger. If you ignore them, they will find another way to be heard, & most likely, not such a good way.
Being too positive. So many people in the world emphasize the importance of thinking positively. Positive confessions are stressed as very important. People are criticized for “being too negative” if they admit they are struggling or hurting. In fact, people can be downright shamed for discussing abuse since it’s so “negative”. I’ve been told I need to “get over my childhood hurts” for example, which at the time, was extremely painful to hear. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was making too big of a deal out of being abused. I felt like a bad Christian for not just forgiving & forgetting. The truth is though, that when I tried to be positive, not talk or think about what I’ve gone through, & to “forgive & forget,” I was miserable. Now that I’m open with my experiences, & facing things head on, I’m not so miserable. I started using good boundaries. I’ve gotten a more balanced view of my situation- bad things happened to me. Horrible things, really, but God brought me through them & is helping me to heal. He’s also helping me to write about my experiences to help others which I love doing. I can’t honestly say I’m grateful for my bad experiences, but I’m grateful good has come from them.
Claiming to be happy 100% of the time. Yes, in God’s presence is fullness of joy, according to the Psalms. Yes, Jesus told us to “be of good cheer.” However, no one is above feeling bad sometimes. It’s not a sin to feel sad, scared, hurt or angry. They are natural reactions to abnormal circumstances. Jesus wasn’t exactly happy in the Garden of Gethsemane now was He? Or, when He flipped over the vendors’ tables in the church. He also got frustrated with the apostles & their lack of faith. Even Jesus wasn’t above feeling emotions other than joy.
Trying to be perfect all of the time. People are NOT perfect! If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus now would we? ’nuff said!
Seeing the best in people. I have given up looking for the best in people, & instead, look for the real in people. If you only see the best, you can set yourself up to be taken advantage of or victimized in some way, because you’d feel guilty for being negative or judgmental. It just makes sense to be realistic about people. There is nothing wrong with that! Jesus basically told His apostles the same thing. Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)
True forgiveness has been very warped by people. So many thing it means “forgive & forget” & if you can’t do that, you’re no Christian & a terrible person. I really don’t believe that however.
Yes, the Bible states that we are to forgive those who have trespassed against us (Matthew 6:12, 15; 18:21; Luke 7:47, 11:4, 17:3; John 20:23; 2 Corinthians 2:10). But, nowhere in the Bible does it state, “Forgive & forget. Let abusive people continue to abuse you with zero consequences!” Quite honestly, I believe that is just stupid to do when a person shows no remorse for their actions! If you don’t remember what they did to you, you open the door for them to abuse you over & over.
A good friend recently showed me what forgiveness really means, & this “forgive & forget” thing people preach isn’t it.
If you forgive someone, it means they no longer owe you a debt. For example, if you lend someone $100, but they can’t repay it, you can opt to forgive their debt to you by telling them they no longer need to repay you that $100. You act as if they never borrowed that money from you, you don’t bring it up again. However, you may decide never to lend them money again since they didn’t repay you the first time.
If someone hurts or abuses you, they should “repay” you by apologizing & making things right if at all possible. Chances are slim that will happen if you’re dealing with a narcissist or even if that person is simply selfish &, well, a jerk.
This situation leaves you with 2 choices- wait for that apology or forgive them the debt of owing you that apology. Personally, I opt to forgive, & quickly.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV). Nowhere in this Scripture does it say doing this will make you feel warm & fuzzy! God basically says you just need to release the need for that person to make it up to you for what they did. Once you realize this, you also realize that in time your emotions will catch up, that you won’t feel angry any longer.
I think there is also a common misconception that when your emotions catch up, even thinking about what happened will no longer upset you. However, I don’t believe that is quite the case.
It isn’t a sign of unforgiveness if what they did to you stirs up some emotion.
I don’t think or talk about my late mother in-law very often. She passed away last year & prior to that, I hadn’t spoken to her in 14 years. She was a very skilled covert narcissist, & after tolerating her abuse for the first 8 years of my relationship with my husband, I simply couldn’t take anymore.
Yesterday, I was working on a book I’ve been writing. I mentioned how once in 1999 (I think anyway.. around that time), my mother in-law wanted me to do something for her. I had an appointment that day, so I told her I couldn’t do it. Granted, I probably could have moved some things around & been there for her, but I didn’t want to. She was horrible to me- why would I want to help her? As soon as I said I wasn’t available, my mother in-law tried to find out why. She used guilt, shame, & even demands to find out what was so important that I couldn’t help her. I refused to tell her. Not only was it none of her business but she would have told her daughters what was happening with me (not their business either) & she probably would’ve found some way to use the information I gave her to hurt me at some future date.
Remembering this incident still angers me to a degree. I thought it must be a sign that I haven’t forgiven her. But, once I thought that, God quickly revealed to me that is not the case.
Forgiving someone completely doesn’t necessarily mean you never feel emotions over the awful things they did to you. You can forgive someone completely, yet still feel some anger about the fact that they hurt or used you. If you didn’t feel that way, chances are you would ignore signs that show you are about to be used & hurt that same way again.
So, the next time someone tells you that you need to work on forgiving someone, remember what I said, Dear Reader. Chances are, you have forgiven that person as God wants you to. xoxo
Recently, God began dealing with me about something. I tend to say yes too quickly. I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often. He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.
This makes a lot of sense to me. There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me. Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead. Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.
Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader? Do you do the same things?
I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents. We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up. We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first. Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking. We simply do it automatically. We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.
Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance. It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance. You deserve to be your priority too! There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties. In fact, it’s a must to do so.
Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know. I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual. Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to. He will! That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good. I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have. Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.
And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. xoxo
Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.” (TLB)
Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell. This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people. Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there. Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.
Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian. Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it. I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”
Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.
Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them. One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.
If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them. They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity! Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work. Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better. If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!
Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them. Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.
By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well. Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.
Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you. Why don’t you try it? Share stories with your friends & family. Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.
Some time back, I created an android app for my website. In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app. Now, I have. It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think. The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app. If you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.
While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.
I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them. They are totally free. Links are below…
For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :
Yesterday, I went to the doctor. The nurse I saw was new to this office. She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise. Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things. (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).
While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off. She was judgmental.
I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs. Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane! She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change. Really?? How does she know I don’t? Because of the extra pounds? Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos. In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2. This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.
Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap. A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said. I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing. She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah. And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too. All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).
What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD. Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people. I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong. I have nothing to be ashamed of.
Shame is what judging makes a person feel. A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc. If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them. You’re making them feel all of those horrible things. It’s not right! Would you want to feel that way?! No? Then why do it to someone else? It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it! God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians. In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental. We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.
If you realize you judge people, just stop. It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it! In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to help you to stop.
Romans 15:2 “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)
One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small. Doing so encourages others. It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone. That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.
I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers. For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times. For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them. They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell. Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away. I believe most people are that way as well. Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word. I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.
Also, sharing your stories encourages you too. It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love. You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself. What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?
Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith. While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself. How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)
There are people watching you every single day. Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not. I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.
Do you think about the kind of image you present?
I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.
People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real. As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one. Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin. Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me. But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me. They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you. And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles. Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you. It means you’re human! Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself. And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!
Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words. People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them. Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life. If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite. This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well. Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.
Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing! Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories. They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours. As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle. (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ ) I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it. It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t. Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled. Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.
Never be ashamed of your faith. Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith. They act embarrassed about it. Why? There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of! I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you. Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate? Just use common sense & speak in balance about it. Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc. I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy. I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.
If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it. It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf
Recently, I was talking with a dear friend. She’s been having trouble with her sister, & handling the problem very well. She’s showing God’s love & grace in this difficult situation.
I felt bad as we spoke, because I knew if that was me in her shoes, I’d be very angry. I felt like I wasn’t being a good Christian because of that. Immediately, God spoke to my heart.
This friend has told me that growing up, she spoke up to her narcissistic mother. She never stifled her anger.
I however, was her polar opposite- I learned early on never to show any anger.
Growing up, my mother would holler at me for my “Bailey temper” even if I was simply frustrated. I learned very young it was better to stifle my anger rather than show it & be shamed. It’s only been the last couple of years I’ve been letting myself show anger. In fact, I can’t stifle it any longer. I get over it & forgive the other person quickly, but it still feels somewhat foreign to get angry.
I can’t really compare myself to this lady because we’re so different. God wants me to show my anger, I believe, so I’m not wrong when I feel it or show it. For her, she chooses not to get angry with her sister & that is what’s right for her. Neither of us are wrong or bad. We’re simply doing what is right for us. And, both of our solutions are Biblical. Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies & forgive them, which is what my friend is doing in her situation. Various Scriptures tell of times when Jesus Himself got angry (Mark 10:13-16, Mark 11:15-17, etc). Being angry is not a sin! It’s what you do with your anger that can be sinful. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)
Realizing all of this was so freeing! It helped me to feel I’m on the right path for me, just as she is for her. It also helped me to stop feeling shame for when I get angry like I did at first (old habits truly die hard).
This situation also goes to prove that we all have very individual walks with God. Sure, there are some basic things He wants from all of us, like following the 10 commandments. But beyond that? We all have very unique & individual paths to take. Don’t compare yourself to another person. Instead, enjoy your own path, & enjoy the freedom there is in that.
I’ve seen quite a few articles over the last few months about false teachers. One article even claimed a famous television evangelist I like very much, Jesse Duplantis, was a false teacher. While wondering if the articles were correct about false teachers being so prominent, I decided to ask God for help & discernment on this subject. He showed me some things..
Some claim false teachers preach about God’s blessings & prosperity. The fact is, in the Bible, God says He loves His children so naturally He wants to bless them. See Jeremiah 17:7-8 & 29:11, Numbers 6:24-6, Exodus 23:25, Psalm 34:8, & Matthew 5:6 & 9 as a few examples. If the Bible clearly spells out how God wants to bless His children, how does it make sense that someone who teaches about this topic periodically is a false teacher? Prosperity & blessings shouldn’t be the only topic one preaches about, but discussing them sometimes? What could be wrong with that?
Some claim false teachers focus on the “lighter” topics such as God’s love rather than the “heavier” topics such as the need for Salvation. There certainly are a great deal of preachers who discuss God’s love, how He supports His children & the like. I don’t believe these preachers are necessarily bad, though. I remember before I became a Christian. Hearing people tell me I was going to Hell if I didn’t accept Jesus as my Savior right at that moment certainly did nothing to make me want to accept Him. In fact, it pushed me away. What eventually did make me want to accept Him was hearing about His deep, unconditional love for me. As a new Christian, the “fluffy” teachings about God’s love & desire to bless me helped to draw me to Him. Going through narcissistic abuse, I think that was especially important to help me not to think God was just another unloving parent figure, only concerned with what I could do for Him. Getting to know God better, I moved away from wanting to hear that & wanting to hear about more heavy topics. I really believe that “fluffy” teaching doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a false teacher. In fact, I believe preachers who focus on such issues have their place in the church. Their place is to draw people to God, to help new Christians understand God’s love is the basis for Christianity & help encourage those in dark places that may be wondering if God really loves them. I believe those who don’t focus primarily on these “fluffy” topics might want to consider doing so periodically to encourage their followers.
Good teachers also can back up what they say with Scripture. That is one thing I love about Jesse Duplantis- he can back up anything he says with Scripture & does so often.
Good teachers don’t just tell you what God can do for you. They also focus on things like how to live a holy life, & being a good witness for your faith to the unbelievers.
Good teachers tell it like it is. They don’t sugarcoat things. For example, they call sin, sin, rather than “making a mistake” or “slipping up.”
A very good indicator that you are listening to or reading the teachings of a good teacher is you feel comfortable with what the person says, it feels right in your heart, even when it’s on a difficult topic such as sin. What they are saying feels right to you. Even the best of teachers may make mistakes sometimes, & no one will agree with any other person 100% of the time, but you will feel this person’s teaching makes sense most of the time.
Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)
I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals. I respectfully disagree though. God loves the animals He created. Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.
Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:
- Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
- Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
- Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
- Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
- Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
- Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (KJV)
Animals are a wonderful blessing to people! They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal. I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any! Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count! They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.
I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do. If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!
And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post. Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them. Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too! They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do! 🙂
I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd. In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.” One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.” You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8 It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.
The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow. Your spouse is also your ministry!
When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry. It feels good to help others. It’s very rewarding! But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married! That person should be your top priority, after God of course.
Listening to that song convicted me. I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should. I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts. Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband. His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home. He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.
What about you? Are you praying for your spouse enough? If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him. I am doing that myself, once this post is finished. I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.
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Recently something seriously annoyed me.
A friend of mine shared that he was sick on facebook. Rather than being met with compassion, he was told stories. Stories of how awful the condition he had was, & stories of “I went through that in 2013. Here’s what happened to me.” No one asked how he was feeling, what did the doctor say or even said they hoped he would feel better soon. I was the only one who said these things & that I was praying for him.
I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying this because it bothers me that there was so little compassion & concern! This selfishness is so typical, even among non-narcissists.
Matthew 24:12 says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV) We are seeing this in droves today & it’s very sad!
There is so much happening in everyone’s life, it can be easy to get caught up in our own life. It also means sometimes we’re too preoccupied to think before speaking. Even so, Dear Reader please think of others! If someone tells you they have a problem, don’t tell them you went through it too, you heard their condition is really painful, or about someone you know who died from it. Take a second to consider a good response instead. Some examples are:
“I’m sorry to hear that!”
“Are you ok?”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“What did the doctor say?”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“I’m here for you.”
People need compassion & understanding, especially these days when there is such a great lack of it. Why not be one of the few who offers it to those in need? A little compassion can make a big difference to someone who is suffering.
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After the death of a gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo, I saw many posts on Facebook that bothered me. My least favorite comment was, “3000 babies die in America’s abortion clinics every day & no one says a word- one gorilla dies & everyone loses their minds.”
For a fleeting moment after reading this, I felt guilty because in all honesty, I care when animals are put down more than I care about abortion. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but please hear me out before you judge…
Animals, mine in particular, are very special to me, as you know if you’ve read any of my work. Helping people overcome the pain of narcissistic abuse & understanding narcissism also are very important to me as is eliminating the stigma of mental illness & supporting those who live with it. These are my causes, the things that are most important to me, after God & my little family of course. While I realize there are many, many worthy causes out there that need support, I simply don’t have it in me to rally to them.
Aside from my mental & physical health problems limiting my energy, I believe it’s important to give as much as you can to something rather than a little bit to many things. I’d rather do two things right than ten things halfway. Quality over quantity if you will. It isn’t that I think there aren’t other important causes out there. There are many! I just chose to focus on a select few that are the most important to me.
Everyone has different gifts & callings. Romans 12:4-8 states, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (KJV) This tells me that everyone is different, with different purposes in life. And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. If everyone did the same thing, not much would get done. Only one area would be taken care of, but so many other things would be neglected. Doesn’t it just make sense that people think differently & support different things?
Just because I support animal welfare doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion, as the comment I mentioned above suggests. The cause of animal welfare is simply closer to my heart, as I’m sure pro-life is closer to the heart of the person who made the comment than animal welfare. Neither of us are wrong! Instead, we support what is right to us. Yet sadly, many people don’t think this way. Instead they judge & criticize others who don’t support their causes. Unfortunately, it seems to me so many people think “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” as I mentioned in this recent post.
Dear Reader, please keep an open mind & heart. Not everyone you meet will share your passions. Nor will you share the passions of everyone you encounter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please- don’t make someone feel bad for not sharing your passions! And, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not sharing theirs! You are both individuals, fashioned by God’s hand for a unique purpose.
**I apologize to those of you who saw this post early. I intended to save my thoughts as a draft, then get back to completing the article later. I guess my trigger finger got happy & I hit “publish” instead of “save draft”. Ooops.. here is the finished post**
So many people have this dysfunctional mindset these days, where they think if you don’t agree with their opinions or their lifestyle 110%, you are the enemy. Obviously you must hate them since you aren’t jumping up & down with enthusiasm at their life.
I’ve been on the receiving end of this hatred, being called racist & a homophob, & frankly it baffled me as well as hurt me. I have friends of various races, genders, religious beliefs & sexual orientation. As much as I love animals, I’m even friends with avid hunters. I honestly can’t say I support every single person in my life 110%. Truth be told, they don’t support me 110% either. But yanno something? It’s fine! We also don’t judge & criticize each other. We accept the other person as they are.
Does this sound un-Christian to you? I honestly don’t believe it is. Mark 12:31 says, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (KJV) I really don’t see anything in that verse that says we should only show love to those who think exactly as we do. To me, as long as they are good people & not judgmental, we stand a good chance at being friends.
Growing up in a narcissistic environment, I honestly thought those who didn’t see things as I did were wrong, & we shouldn’t be friends. It took growing up & getting to know God before I realized that no two people will agree completely, & there is nothing wrong with that.
Some people can handle being friends with those who are their polar opposites, without arguing, & even with deep respect for each other. Then there are others who absolutely cannot handle having people in their lives who disagree with them on any matter at all. Still others fall somewhere in the middle.
You need to know your feelings on this matter. Do you object to being in relationship with people who are different to you or are you open to new experiences? However you feel, then you need to find other people who feel the same way as you do if you wish to have peaceful relationships.
If you’re closed minded at the thought of having friends who have differing view points to you, then I’d like to suggest being a bit more open minded. It’s quite interesting, the things you can learn from other people. As an example, while yes, I’m a devoted Christian, I have a good friend who has been involved in the Pagan religion for many years. Although I disagree with most aspects of it, I have learned that they know so much about herbal remedies. This has intrigued me! After all, prescription & man made medicines often have wicked side effects. Natural remedies have a great deal less side effects & often work just as well, if not better, than their man made counterparts. What’s not to love? In fact, I use herbal remedies to help manage my C-PTSD & anxiety, sometimes also insomnia. I believe God created these things, so there can’t be anything wrong with using them.
Before slamming someone or ending a relationship because you two disagree, why not try opening your mind a bit? And, if you find you don’t feel their view would be right for you, this doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends. Focus on what is right for you & accept the fact that what works for you may not work for another, or vice versa. Ultimately, our life choices are between us & God. People shouldn’t judge others.
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God showed me recently how valuable any small act of kindness is to people.
In the early 2000’s, my husband & I sponsored a young girl & her brother in the Philippines. We wrote back & forth. We had pictures of both kids. Then at one point, I forget what, but something came up & we couldn’t send the money one month. The organization we went through gave them to another family to sponsor although we were planning to send more to make up for the month we lost.
I wondered what happened to the kids. We kept their pictures & prayed for them periodically.
Then a few days ago, I got a friend’s request & message from a young woman. This stunning young lady is the once young girl we sponsored! She wanted to find us to thank us for helping her as a little girl.
I’m in shock, but it’s a good shock! I never expected to hear from her again.
For a while, I’ve felt like anything good I do isn’t really important. It’s just what I should do as a Christian- bless & help other people. Plus, growing up with narcissists, doing for others feels like it is just what I am supposed to do. I’m sure you know what I mean- narcissists raise their children to do for them. They make their children believe their only purpose is to do for them, to be used, so the children carry that belief into adulthood. Even other people often treat them as if they owe the other people to do for them, like the narcissistic parent did. Honestly, this is how I have always felt.
I guess God was tired of me feeling as if what I do for others doesn’t matter or make much difference, because hearing from this young lady really showed me it does matter. Even small gestures make a big difference! It didn’t cost much, what we sent to the organization, but it helped to put her through school. I forgot until she reminded me, but I had sent her pictures of our pets. She said she loved the pictures, as she is an avid animal lover. Little things, but they made a big difference to her.
Dear Reader, please learn from this story. Whatever you do for others makes a difference! Even small gestures that don’t feel important, are very important. Maybe not to you, but they are very important to someone, even if you are unaware of that fact.
There is an easy way to secure God’s blessings over your life, & sadly not many people will do it. It’s called tithing.
I know, the word tithing doesn’t exactly encourage joy. So many greedy preachers have demanded their congregation give them money that the word has become tainted to some people. I get it. I’ve felt the same way. But, I encourage you to forget what you knew of tithing & keep reading.
Malachi 3:10-12: “10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.” (KJV)
These wonderful verses contain promises that I have seen in action in my own life. Since I began tithing seriously in 2015, God truly has blessed me. When we thought we wouldn’t have enough money to pay some bills, money suddenly showed up. When our taxes for 2015 were done, I was sure that we would owe state & federal, as we have for the last few years, yet instead, we learned we were getting money back. And, when doing those taxes, I had to find out the date our health insurance stopped coverage in 2015. That day was the day after I went to the emergency room! My trip to the ER was covered- if it’d been only a few hours later, it wouldn’t have been covered & we would’ve owed thousands of dollars we didn’t have.
Giving God the 10% He asks for seems to not only protect what you have, but also to make that 90% go much further. It’s absolutely amazing!
When I started to tithe, honestly I wasn’t sure if it’d work for me because I don’t go to church. Because of that, I figured the next best thing was to send money to the preachers on television I watch regularly- Jesse Duplantis, TD Jakes & Josh McDowell. So far so good! In fact, Jesse Duplantis is the one I’ve learned the most about giving & tithing from. He has great revelation in this area, plus he’s not one of those televangelists who constantly tries to get people to send him money. I thought these things made him the perfect person to learn from.
Jesse Duplantis wrote a fantastic little book entitled, “Why Isn’t My Giving Working?” A while back, I read it & took notes on it. I really recommend buying the book for yourself (it’s available on his website, http://www.JDM.org) but to give you some insight into the book, below are some notes I took on it a while back. I hope this information blesses you as much as it has me. xoxo
Why Isn’t My Giving Working? by Jesse Duplantis
I.What God has said:
A. God said, be fruitful- which mans always producing.
B. God said, multiply- which means always increasing.
C. God said, replenish- which means fill & refill.
D. God said, subdue- which means control your environment or it will control
E. God cares about giving & honor, because they reveal the condition of the
II.The four types of giving:
A. The Tithe
A. The tithe is God’s portion; it is our connection to the blessing, which is our
B. Tithing holds God to His promise to open the windows of Heaven & to
rebuke the devourer. The devourer is anything that comes up that makes you
spend money you don’t want to spend.
C. God is trying to get us the blessings He talks about in Malachi 3:10-12:
“10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”
D. Use this verse to remind God of His promises when you pray about your
tithe. Have faith He will keep His promises.
A. First fruits are the first part of an increase. Example: you get a raise at
work that means you’ll get $50 more per week. Give God the first $50 raise.
B. Proverbs 3:9-10 “9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with
the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with
plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
C. First fruits are only given once- the first of any increase, not income.
D. The first fruits offering is heart-driven, & given as a direct form of
gratitude to God.
A. Alms are given to the poor & those in need.
B. God’s rate of return is “repayment” on alms, not abundance. Proverbs
19:17 “ He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay
back what he has given.”
C. If I give alms but don’t tithe, even the repayment God promises could be
devoured on its way back to me.
D. Give quietly- don’t advertise your giving or make the recipient feel bad or
that they owe you for your generosity. Protect the dignity of the recipient!
Remember, God sees what you’re doing- let that be enough. Alms should be
given with love, not for attention from man or God.
A. The motivation is faith & reward. It is the only way the 30, 60 or 100-fold
harvest can be received, provided you sow into good ground. Mark 4:3-9
(Jesus speaking) “3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it
happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds
of the air[a] came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it
did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no
depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it
had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the
thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell
on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and
produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He
said to them,[b] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
B. Good soil is a place that is growing & doing what it has set out to do.
C. Seed sowing is the best route to debt cancellation. Not only in cash
received, but debts being cancelled miraculously.
A. Sow with purpose- to be obedient & to love God.
B. Haphazard giving leads to haphazard results.
C. Never dismiss the blessings God gives you. Praise & thank Him for them!
D. Be joyous in giving, wondering what God is going to do for you & others
E. While waiting on God to make good on His promises, stand strong knowing
He will do what He says He will. Ephesians 6:13-14 “13 Therefore take up
the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your
waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
F. Don’t mix up your giving. For example, don’t take your tithe, & give it as a
G. Don’t be moved emotionally into giving something you purposed for another
area. Tithes stay tithes, alms stay alms, etc. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “7 So let
each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity;
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
H. If you do not give God’s way, He is under no obligation to bless you in the
way you want to be blessed.
I. To start giving, start tithing. Give more as you can afford to do so, no
matter how small your giving may be. Amount isn’t important. God will bless
J. Don’t worry if your seed is small- it does not have to be big to work so long
as your purpose & motivation are accurate.
1. The tithe: motive is obedience.
2. First fruits: motive is generosity.
3. Alms: motive is compassion.
4. Seed: motive is faith & reward.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (KJV)
Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.
Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian. I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled. I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily. Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her. It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage. Yet, God was telling me to change that.
In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning. Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere. Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer. Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.
*sigh* Really? The in-laws? After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?! The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?! Ok, fine. They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.
God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago. Oh come on, God! Seriously?! Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.
Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years. I did that the other night for the first time. It was hard, but I did it. Already, that’s getting easier.
I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first. What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside. I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now. I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy. It’s absolutely wonderful!!
I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too? It really is worth it! Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him. If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand! If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too! The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel. You will be blessed!
Try it today, Dear Reader. Pray for your abuser. Ask God to help you to do so if need be. What do you have to lose?
When you have been abused, you eventually get angry. It’s only natural. Many people think that this means you are harboring anger. It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things. Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry. I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it. I don’t know what your problem is.” *sigh* I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.
I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!
The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with. Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare. The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go. Often several times.
Anger can also be somewhat deceptive. You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again. I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband. I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me. It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.
Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way. So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.
Harboring anger, however, is different.
Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go. People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.
It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,
Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt. A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.
People who harbor anger are very bitter. For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.
These people also hold grudges for years. They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.
These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity. Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.
Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions. Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser? If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do! Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!
Many of us who have been abused in some way have learned that other people, even strangers, like talking to us. I’ve had people in the grocery store or laundromat strike up a conversation & tell me their entire life stories. (One lady caught me twice in two different stores about six months apart- she apparently didn’t remember me from the first time) It’s strange to say the least, but I think it’s because some people are so desperate for some compassion, they’ll try to find it in a stranger.
Since many of you are also introverts like me, I know this can be uncomfortable. You probably want to just duck into a place, do what you came to do & leave quickly with minimal human interaction. (I even use the self-checkout lanes to eliminate interaction with one more person.) When a person decides to chit-chat, it can be annoying, especially if you’re in a rush.
I have begun to think a bit differently about this “annoyance.” I believe when this sort of thing happens, it is God putting you in a place to be a blessing to someone. Just listening to someone talk for a little while may make their day better or lighten the burden of the problem they discussed with you. Why not let the person talk for a while?
One evening recently, I saw my parents. I wasn’t in a good mood after leaving them. On the way home, I went by the post office to mail something out after hours yesterday using the machine in the lobby rather than dealing with people during regular business hours. A lady came in & dropped off a package while I was at the machine. Out of the blue, she told me about her day at work, which sounded very frustrating. The conversation lasted maybe five minutes, but it seemed to help her mood a bit. It also helped mine some because I had a distraction from my own situation for a few minutes. It was a small one, but I think a blessing for both her & I. And, as I’m writing, I also remembered to pray for her- I may not know her needs, but God does.
The next time you are in that somewhat awkward position of listening to a stranger, then why not just go with it for a while? You may be helping that person more than you know. You might even help yourself.