God And Gender

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness…”

I wish this was us all the time…(sigh)

cute-couple-1

Truth is, it’s not. My husband and I have our differences-and our sin natures-and most of the time one of those gets in the way of us looking like the adorable pair in the photo. We don’t look cute when we argue, except maybe to God who looks down on us and knows we are pitiful. Fact of the matter is we need a Savior. Even to make our couple dynamic work. Jesus is certainly up to the task.

Before I get into weightier topics I want to give you the opportunity to laugh at me, and my husband, in our pathetic attempts to live out the gospel. Many of you could probably use a good laugh if you just finished reading some of the salvation content I posted. Salvation is no laughing matter. My couple dynamic with my husband, however, certainly is! So laugh away at our immature antics and know that I would do the same to you-I mean for you lol.

All newlyweds begin to bicker at some point. Some earlier than others. Our bickering and feuding took on quite the form! During our first year and a half of marriage I had a ton of anxiety about a variety of things that would crop up during my rest time. I would have terrible nightmares playing worst case scenarios over and over in my head, sometimes different variations of the same scenario several times in one night! I would wake up gripped with fear. As I am a verbal processor I would immediately desire for someone to console me with words and talk through it with me. As these fears would often overtake me at night my husband was usually the only person available to talk to. Problem was, he would usually be asleep. I am a light sleeper and did not think much of it. Little did I know my husband is a sound sleeper. Few things-even a huge storm or a noisy train going past our bedroom while the window is open-can jar him awake during the middle of the night. These are things you learn about each other after you have been married for a while longer than us. Well we hadn’t been married that long so during one nightmare anxiety episode I turned to my husband and started pouring out my feelings and telling him how scared I was. He muttered something indiscernible. At this point, I began to grow angry. “Don’t you care?” I responded really upset. Then he said a few more things that I could hear perfectly well. They were rude at best but I mostly found his flippant air to be deeply insensitive to my pain. Now, I started to yell and the conflict escalated. It was at that point that my husband’s eyes were wide open. He began saying to me, “what is going on?” “What do you mean what is going on?!” I shouted back. “I have been trying to tell you about how afraid I am and you said something insensitive back to me in response!” “No I didn’t,” my husband said, sounding a little confused but mostly defensive. “You did!” I fired back. “I heard you!”At this point my husband angrily fired back, “How could I have said anything to you if I have no idea what is going on because I JUST WOKE UP!” It was at that point I realized my nearly fatal mistake. My husband, who is an insanely deep sleeper, had been asleep when I turned to him afraid and wanting comfort. As his brain struggle to wake up, he was talking to me in his sleep! He was rude, I may add (in my defense), but unconscious nonetheless. I had gotten into a fight with my new husband because of something he said to me in his sleep! Pitiful, just pitiful, I thought to myself. Now you have really done it. Accusing the man and he was not even awake yet! Shame on you. Unfortunately, this exact scene played over several times in the course of our first year, without me having learned from my previous errors. I eventually learned the hard way to cast my cares during the middle of the night on God alone- or at the least on God alone until my husband was fully awake.

We assumed we could control the future.

During another part of our new marriage, my husband was suffering from a lot of anxiety about the future of his career and our marriage. He would even question regularly whether or not God was with us or loved us because we were not getting the results we thought we deserved from the hard work we were putting into controlling our future. Our mistake? We assumed we could control the future. Another deadly mistake we made that did us a serious disservice in terms of having peace as we waited for God to move spiritual realities into our physical, earth-bound view, was listening to people and influences who had a message for us on our circumstances but that message stemmed from their own distorted view of God and NOT from any semblance of reality where God is on the throne.

It involves taking the promises of God in the Old Testament for earthly prosperity and translating it to your New Testament believer life in a way that says to you that if you were really in God’s will you would NOT being going through so much hardship.

This mistake is easy to make. You may be able to relate. It involves taking the promises of God in the Old Testament for earthly prosperity and translating it to your New Testament believer life in a way that says to you that if you were really in God’s will you would NOT being going through so much hardship. Fortunately for feeble minded folks like ourselves this LIE FROM THE DEVIL is directly contradictory in a very easy to understand way with the life of our Savior and our God Jesus in all four of the gospel accounts.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It is also directly contradictory to the experience of our earthly father in the faith, the apostle Paul and the lives of all the apostles that God has given to us as an example. This lie is easy to shoot down (in your face devil!) but just like with medicine you have to actually take a dose of New Testament scripture to get hit with the power of the remedy. Satanic lies are spiritual. Even if it is a person who is saying them to you. And yes, even it if is a “good” church-going, give above the 10% tithe God commanded JEWS to bring to a temple that NO LONGER EXISTS kind of person who is saying it. A lie is a lie. Jesus teaches that lies come from the devil.

The idea that a life filled with suffering and hardship is not a life that God is blessing is contrary to scripture.

John 8 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell truth, you do not believe me!

The idea that a life filled with suffering and hardship is not a life that God is blessing is contrary to scripture. Scripture also supports that often Jesus prevents us from achieving our desired earthly prosperity or comfort out of his care for us.

Spiritual war requires spiritual weapons.

2 Corinthian 10 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The idea that a life filled with suffering and hardship is not a life that God is blessing is contrary to scripture. Scripture also supports that often Jesus prevents us from achieving our desired earthly prosperity or comfort out of his care for us.

“…’no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel…will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come eternal life.'” 

2 Corinthians 11 16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 23 Are they servants of Christ (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and have been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Mark 10 28 Peter said to him, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ 29 ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come eternal life.’ 

Perhaps this saying by Jesus was not intended to curse christian lives but rather to liberate them from the paralyzing and utterly horrific pursuit of worldly prosperity and hope in the things of this world. It is much less appealing to ask God for more physical provision in our lives as genuine believers when we know that abundant provision will come with persecution. If you want to know if your life is with God and for God and whether you should be using your experience to guide other genuine believers in understanding their own walk with the Lord then ask yourself this: which New Testament believer does my life resemble? If your life would best match a Pharisee or the Jews who did not want gentiles to hear about God because of racial or cultural prejudice where you think some people are not worthy of love because of sin, culture, or whatever else, that is NOT what I am going for here. Really, that is not what the Lord is after for your life.

Back to the original funny story about us the Holy Spirit interrupted me writing to deliver some LIFE SAVING truth. Praise God He talks to us! One day my husband was super stressing about our future, our finances, and his career. He was even despairing to the point of believing the lie that God didn’t really love him because of everything he had done wrong in his life. I was pretty fired up by the Holy Spirit at that time. I am normally pretty fired up just because of my passionate personality but an extra measure of God’s Holy Spirit from fervent prayer really gets me going! I had been praying over my husband and his anxiety relentlessly, yelling scripture throughout our apartment and cursing the devil with all the curses God has reserved for that nasty beast in God’s holy Word. I would pray specific and intentional scriptures and promises over my husband’s life while he was out of our home and I would even lay my hands on his forehead while he slept and pray for God to protect His mind. I believed these scriptures about those who are found in Christ enough to act on them:

Ephesians 2 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus.

Romans 8 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are also heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

“…if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife…”

I did not think that mere action alone could rescue my husband from the barrage of doubt and anguish he was suffering. I did believe that my faith in Jesus and in God’s holy Word would activate life in my home and defeat the death anthem, or ideas of doom and gloom and no hope, that plagued our minds.

1 Corinthians 7 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

Jesus is a husband so He is MOST qualified to train them.

I wanted to leave my husband so bad during that terrible season because I was tempted into thinking things were going wrong because we shouldn’t have gotten married, as we were pressured into thinking during engagement, and because my husband was providing NO spiritual back-up at that time in the fight for our encouragement. However, God encouraged me to stop complaining to Him about my husband and start praying for the man because clearly he needs it. I took God’s word for it and countless mishaps and amazing blessings later I have a husband who is FULL of the love of God, who sheds physical tears with the hurting, spends holidays on his hands and knees serving messed up addicts on the street, and who would rather die or be homeless than denounce His precious Savior Jesus Christ. Bless the Lord for His good work because He alone did this good thing!

Ephesians 2 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ladies who are married if you see flaws in your husband and issues that you know are not right I implore you to start praying to Jesus for Him. Beating him over the head with insults or worldly self help and nagging him to death don’t work (believe me I have tried). Prayer to Jesus does work. Jesus is a husband so He is MOST qualified to train them.

Ephesians 5 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-

OK. Back to the funny story. So, I was all fired up in the Spirit and when my husband started speaking all these lies that he was believing about himself, almost without thinking I jumped into his lap, began shaking him by the collar of his dress shirt, and yelling fairly loudly (though our faces were only inches away) “There is grace! There is grace! God loves you! He shows you grace!” My husband was so startled that I was in his lap and yelling that he immediately forgot whatever it was he had been worried about and was now completely focused on what I was doing and saying. Needless to say, it worked! It wasn’t elegant. But it did rescue a weary soul from discouragement.

Among our other CRAZY supernatural stories (as in I would not believe it unless I was there) we attended a christian conference during this season of destabilizing doubt and crippling insecurity about our future. My husband attended the session on prophesy as it sounded interesting. We watched this documentary recently on the Holy Spirit called Holy Ghost Reborn about healing and other miracles done by the Holy Spirit so he was curious.

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

Acts 2 17 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire…do not treat prophesies with contempt.”

Evidently, it was a practicum (which is kind of scary because the subject matter was prophesy)! They had people people pair off and ask God for a word of revelation for the other person they paired off with. Neither my husband or the person who he was paired with had ever prophesied before. God gave the person he was with a vision of surfing and gave him this message for my husband: “You are in a sea of uncertainty right now. It’s like you are surfing. Your sport is VERY unpredictable but it will be rewarding and God will keep you in it.” This person had NO idea the uncertainty that was in our lives at the time! God is so amazing! During another part of that same conference my husband felt moved by the Holy Spirit to reach out to a young man who was standing in the back by himself. He resisted for a while because he felt it would be weird to go over to a random person, but not wanting to quench the Spirit he finally went over.

1 Thessalonians 5 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophesies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

My husband invited the young man to sit with us and he accepted. After the worship session my husband told the guy, “You know I went over and got you because the Lord told me to. I have no idea why though.” The guy said back, “Oh I know why. I was standing back there by myself being angry at God and asking Him why I was all alone and then when you came back and grabbed my shoulder it was like God reaching out to me in my loneliness.” We were so amazed and thanked God together! God can read minds, speak and provide such incredible comfort in our time of need.

During another part of that same conference a guy came on stage with a tablet. Not unusual for a conference. Then something strange, but incredible, happened when he started to speak. He started to name really specific physical illness and issues of people in the room. It was not that he knew them He just kept saying “There is someone here who… .” As he was speaking various people around the room would raise their hand when he got to their issue and those near them gathered around them to pray for their healing. So much healing in the name of Jesus took place that day! God is real and He is so good.

FYI if you read this and want to hear more stories that inspire a “WOW I DIDN’T KNOW GOD COULD DO THAT BUT I SHOULD HAVE GUESSED FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT” check out the church page!

As you dive into the gender posts bon appetit!