Sober Up!

Have you ever been jarred out of sleep by a disturbing nightmare that you couldn’t shake?  Maybe of someone you love dying and it just felt so real, that you were obsessively thinking about it all day long?

How about this scenario: You get into an argument with your husband or friend, and go on an emotional tirade and spew a lot of things you deeply regret later, but can never be unheard by your loved one.

Maybe you’re unapologetically unfiltered. What you see is what you get, and you have no problem letting people know exactly what’s on your mind!

  • Obsessive worrying
  • Obstinate pride
  • Overbearing anger
  • Overwhelming grief
  • Irrational fear
  • Insatiable lust
  • Incessant envy

If any of these strike a chord, and characterize your life, you need to learn to be sober.  

Being sober is the first thing that the aged women are to teach the younger women in Titus 2:3-5.  It’s first because it’s so very important. Without this sober mind, she can’t properly do all that she’s instructed to do in the rest of the passage, because her thinking is carnal, and tainted by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

In Titus 2:4 -The word “sober” is the Greek word sophronizo, meaning to make of a sound mind, discipline or correct. This word comes from the Greek word sophron, which means safe, sound in mind, self-controlled, moderate as to opinion or passion, and temperate.

The aged women have to correct the younger women’s thinking because a sober mind is not something a woman naturally possesses. Ephesians 4:23 and Romans 12:2 both speak to renewing our minds.  If our minds were okay with God then he wouldn’t have given us these commands!

~Ephesians 4:23~ And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

We have to filter our trials, temptations, tests, and every thought through scripture.

In every temptation of your flesh to just be the same woman you always have, or handle the trials the same old way, or give into your fleshly cravings for sin like your friends are doing, pray for the Spirit’s power and the word’s filtering, and be sober. 

~1Peter 4:7~ But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

A sober woman is in control of her thoughts, emotions, and actions.  She is circumspect, aware, and alert to the enemy. An unsober woman is foolish and caught up in her feelings.

A foolish woman is characterized in scripture as:

  1. Contentious and angry. Proverbs 21:19
  2. Shameful. Proverbs 12:4
  3. Loud and stubborn. Proverbs 7:11
  4. Thoughtless. Proverbs 11:22
  5. Destructive. Proverbs 14:1

A foolish woman impairs the body of Christ.  They’re unstable and unfaithful, emotional women, who are marked by sins of the tongue-flattery, gossip, slander, and lying. They’re contentious. They hinder the gospel of Christ from going forth and the mission of God from being accomplished.  You don’t want to be this woman! 

That’s why discipleship the Titus 2 way is so imperative to the health of the body of Christ. A mature and godly woman taking another woman under her wing and teaching her with her life and her words, using scripture as the absolute authority for every issue she faces, is biblical discipleship. Without these discipleship relationships within the body, foolishness abounds, contention and chaos never cease, women rally for roles they’re not equipped or called to. Without women teaching women, the structure gets out of order.  We cannot afford to forsake this integral part of the local New Testament Church, as laid out in the book of Titus.

A sober woman isn’t without feelings, she doesn’t suppress her emotions.  She renews her mind with the truth of scripture and that in turn modifies her emotional responses to be in line with God’s will and his word.  God gave us emotions so that we can really experience life, and be empathetic in ministry.  Without emotions we’d be robots, so they’re necessary, but we have to be taught how to control them so that they don’t control us.

Whatever we allow to dominate our mind will dictate our mouth, manners, and ministry.

Sometimes there are physical reasons why our emotions get all out of whack- hormones, lack of sleep, sickness, chronic pain. Those times can really make it hard to be sober.  So we need to be patient and understanding with each other, our daughters, and disciples.  Freely give grace as you have freely received it, and pray her through those times where her body has hijacked her senses.

Being sober is learning how to renew your mind so that you can be emotionally stable and spiritually strong.

It’s a moment by moment, day by day way of thinking. A state of mind that can change based on how much time you spend in the word, and how surrendered to the Spirit you are. It’s having a filtered and focused mind.

Even if we are foolish, unfiltered, and driven by our feelings right now, that doesn’t mean we’re destined to be this way forever.  I was that woman I described above.  If God can transform me and renew my mind, he can do the same for you! You can be sober, and in the next post I’ll teach ya how!

~Romans 12:2~ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

 

Squash the Mom Guilt

Have you ever thought about all you should’ve done differently in raising your kids?

Or been visiting with a friend with well-behaved, well-dressed, or wildly successful children while yours look and act like they belong in the wild?

How about when you lose your temper, forget a parent-teacher conference, or can’t afford those new shoes they want so badly?

That feeling that washes over you… it’s mom guilt. 

That’s what I wrote about in this contributor post for Virtuous Mama Ministries! If you’re a mom- you need to read that post and follow their ministry, you’ll be glad you did!

Please share with your mom friends as well, so more women can find freedom from “mom guilt”!

Here’s the link to their website and my article “Squash the Mom Guilt”:

 https://www.virtuousmama.org/squash-mom-guilt/

You can also find Virtuous Mama Ministries on several social media outlets, using the links at the bottom of their website.

4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship- part 1

Here’s the next installment of my biblical discipleship series titled Invest- 4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship, part 1- Be an Example.  You can read the two previous posts here and here.

~Titus 2:3~ The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

God is infinitely more concerned with us being godly women than with us doing anything for him. That is why his exhortation to godly character precedes his instruction to teach younger women.

The more mature women in the body are to be an example of:

Sanctified Behavior– “in behavior as becometh holiness”

  • Stand Out from the Crowd!   This church plant in Crete was in the midst of a pagan, idolatrous, wicked environment. The world we live in is no different. The world our girls are growing up in is a crooked and perverse place.  The ladies that come in fresh from the world with no benefit of a godly upbringing carry the baggage of their carnal mindset, just like I did, and need to know what is expected of them as a new believer.  They’re going to need women to look to. They are looking for women like this!

If you read my blog post titled “I’m a Fool!”, you know that when I got saved I was really foolish.  I wanted to be wise and godly so the Lord taught me his word, and gave me a spiritual mentor, a living example to learn from.  I got to see a sober, submissive, Spirit-filled, servant in action.

He didn’t do all that for me just for my sake or the sanity of my husband and children, he sanctified me (and continues to) so that I can be an example to other women.  So that I can disciple and teach from a place of humility, understanding, experience, and God-given authority. And he wants to do the same for you!

Fast Fact: Holiness means uniqueness, set-apartness, or sanctified.

The aged women in the body should stand out from the immature, and the lost, they should be unique.  They should make holiness look good for the younger women, as something they should aspire to.  Psalm 29:2 says to “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  Holiness is beautiful to the Lord, and it should be to us as well.

Our holiness is dependent on our walk with Jesus, our worship of Jesus, putting in the words of Jesus, and following the ways of Jesus. Ladies should be able to see from our attitudes and actions that there is something very different about us, something they desperately want themselves. The good things listed here that the mature women are to teach the younger women, she needs to be living out in her own life.  Not perfectly obviously, but making progress through her sin issues, always pursuing Christ-likeness. This is sanctified behavior.

The younger women should see that we don’t just read and teach these things, but we actually believe them enough to obey them!  Proverbs 31:10 says “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”  Is it not the same in this world today? Virtuous women are so rare, and so hard to find.  I think it’s time to change that!

  • Stop the Carnality! At salvation the Lord starts conforming us to the image of Christ by pointing out areas in our lives that aren’t holy.  He brings us from carnality to Christ-likeness the more we repent at his conviction of sin, and submit to walk in his ways instead of our own.

~1Peter 1:15-16~ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Speaking Truth – “not false accusers”

  • Stop Slandering! “Accuser” comes from the Greek word “diabolos” meaning Satan or traducer.  This word is also used as “slanderer” and “devil” in the New Testament.  Proverbs 10:18 says “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.”

Slanderers seek self-elevation and start division.  A false accuser is a pawn of Satan who is being used to sow discord within the body, by spreading lies.

For a biblical illustration of this, read Numbers 12, and checkout my blog post on Miriam- A devilish diva!

The bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  You have in your words, the ability to speak truth that brings life, or lies that bring death. Slander is deadly to relationships, and kills the unity within the body.

~Proverbs 31:26~ She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 

We are to be the example of sanctified behavior, speaking truth, and of a:

Sober Mindset– “not given to much wine”

  • Stay out of slavery to sin! “Given” means to be enslaved to, to be in bondage to, or become a servant of.  Not given to much wine means not a slave to alcohol.  This is the same instruction given to pastors in 1Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7, and for deacons in 1Timothy 3:8. So the aged women are held to the same standard as the pastors and deacons of the church.

The bible forbids us from being drunk on alcohol.  Ephesians 5:17-18 says “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is, and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

While the bible specifically mentions being drunk on wine, we know that in our world today there are so many more things we can ingest to dull our senses and change our mood and mindset that ultimately bring us into bondage.  We become enslaved to them, and we turn those things instead of to the Lord to help us in time of need. We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not to be controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit inside of us, and we are not to put anything in the place of God.

  • Start thinking soberly!To change our actions, we must change our thinking. Romans 12:1-2 says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Our minds are renewed and we are transformed by putting the word of God in.

A sober mind is a controlled, disciplined, sound mind that filters everything through God’s word.  The only way to have a sober mind is to fill our minds with divine truth.  When trial or temptation comes, we need to cast down imaginations (2Corinthians 10:3-6), and think on things that are true (Philippians 4:8). 

In that moment of decision, stop and ask yourself “what is true?” and apply God’s word to it.  Walk in the Spirit and choose to believe God’s word over how you feel. Contrary to popular belief, you can help it, you do have a choice, and it is possible to be free of emotional instability and bondage to habitual sin.

Pray for the Lord’s help to remember truth, resist temptation, and remain triumphant.  Be intentional to invest in your spiritual growth, be an example to other women by being sober, speaking truth, and having sanctified behavior.  Give them something they will want to follow and learn from!

Biblical discipleship the way Jesus did it is intentional, personal, radical, and fruitful. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Invest Series for building block number 2-Building the Relationship!

From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”

Worry= a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.  

I was in this state of anxiety this week.

With the holiday,  battling writer’s block, and a tight schedule, I’ve gotten so behind on the blog. I also need to work on the first e-book I’ve started, and revamp my bible study material to teach the ladies at church. Along with that is a nagging sense of pressure to produce transparent pieces that minister to women on a practical level.  Writing is hard y’all!

As I brooded over all I needed to get done, the “what ifs” started popping in.  Things like “what if I get weeks behind on the blog, what if I lose my inspiration completely, what if I never get to finish that e-book, and what if I’m not prepared when it comes time to teach?”

Through some prayer partners, fellow writers, and in my daily time with Jesus, the Lord brought it to my attention that this was all self-inflicted worry.  I placed all these expectations on myself.  Standards without flexibility, giving myself no grace. (Have I mentioned I’m a recovering perfectionist?)

I had to go back and re-read my post on Proper Perspective, and re-apply the truth I had just taught. I needed to be reminded to rest in the Lord, remain in his word, and rely on his Spirit.

God has given me this platform to proclaim the word and help women to know, live, and invest the truth.  He gives me every post, I just have to make sure I’m tuned into his leading through my quality time with him every day.  My job is to put the time in studying, praying, and living out the things I teach.  His job is everything else.

His timing is perfect, and so is his track record. I just need to trust him.

Maybe you’re as forgetful as I am, and you’ve had a similar experience lately.  Times where you find yourself wandering down the rabbit trail of “what ifs” when God desires you to stand firm on the path of “what is“.

Worry is a common stronghold for women.  We crave control, we’re problem solvers, we like to get things done.  So in the unknown that characterizes our walk of faith, it’s easy to fall into the snare of the “what ifs”. If you’re a:

  • Mom– What if my kids don’t get saved; live a life of sin; get cancer; die before me…
  • Wife– What if my husband cheats on me; leaves me; doesn’t get that job; doesn’t walk with Jesus…
  • Daughter– What if my parents get sick; I’m the only one to take care of them; I can’t afford their medicine…
  • Friend– What if they gossip about me; find a new friend; they like someone else more than me…
  • Worker– What if I don’t get enough hours; lose that promotion; get fired; can’t pay my bills…

We could sit and dwell for days on all the different scenarios that could happen.  But where’s the profit in that?  We don’t gain anything other than a few more wrinkles and alot of irritability.

What the Lord wants us to do is to think soberly about the circumstances of life, to discipline our thinking, so that we can worship him freely, without the restraints of unnecessary fears.

Jesus addressed worry in Matthew 6:25-34.  You should read it.  He starts and ends this passage with “take no thought”– basically don’t worry about the things of this life.  God is a perfect provider and will meet all your needs,  you can count on it.

~Matthew 6:33~ But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

Don’t panic over your problems, put time in with Jesus.  Pray over it all, praise him for who he is and what he has done.  Proclaim the promises of what he will do.

Walk by faith and not by sight.

The apostle Paul also gave us instructions for winning the war with worry:

~1Corinthians 10:5~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Instead of stewing over situations outside of your control, and imagining things that may never happen, arrest those thoughts and apply the truth. Put your mind in submission to the word of God.

~Philippians 4:8~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Shifting our focus from the “what ifs” to “what is” true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise, will naturally turn our hearts from worry to worship as we recount all the ways God is present, powerful, and perfect.

Even if you’re facing great uncertainty, a scary diagnosis, a wayward child, marital problems, or are buried under the weight of a busy schedule, no matter what- God is faithful. 

The Lord is willing and able to provide you with everything you need to extinguish worry before it engulfs you.  You have to be intentional to be sober minded and turn your thoughts toward him. Go from worry to worship today!

~Philippians 4:6-7~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Proper Perspective

~Psalm 101:2~ I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

David, the king of Israel, a man after God’s own heart, a lover of the word, and a passionate pursuer of God’s glory, wrote those words. He was concerned about his behavior and his heart as he walked within his house.

That prompts me to examine my own heart and behavior in the home.

As a homeschooling, babysitting, blogging, writing, cleaning, cooking, shopping, chauffeuring, praying, stay at home mom- I die daily.

I have to.

I can’t chase after my own plan and dreams and forsake the needs of those that God has entrusted me with caring for.

When the day goes opposite of my agenda, and I feel so very unproductive, I can respond with peace and joy, or in frustration and anger. I don’t always get it right. The difference is where my mind and will is at.

I have to surrender my day to the Lord and pray for the right heart attitude to serve these precious people with humility. And I have to be intentional to put my mind on  three things:

1) It’s worth it! Whatever you have to give up, or put on hold, to minister to the souls God puts in your life, it’s totally worth it. Jesus is worthy, and the eternal rewards for a faithful and fruitful woman definitely outweigh the temporal sacrifices.

~Colossians 3:24~ Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

2) Your labor is not in vain! You may not see the fruit of your time, talent, treasures, or truth, this side of heaven, but God’s word doesn’t return void, it accomplishes what He wills it to. What you’re doing today matters!

~1Corinthians 15:58~ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

3) This is just for a season! Before you know it your kids will be grown and gone, your house will be quiet and clean, and you’ll ache for those babies to be back in your arms. Enjoy the season you’re in!

~Ecclesiastes 3:1~ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

So when it feels like they’re pushing you to the brink of exhaustion or insanity, and your to-do list gets buried under homeschool or homework, be intentional to think on those three things- It’s worth it, It’s not in vain, and It’s just for a season! 

Even if you’re not in the exact same situation as me, I know you can relate. Dying to self is something we all are called to do.

~Luke 9:23~ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Dying to self daily is painful, but necessary in the sanctification process as God conforms us to the image of Christ.

Praise the Lord we don’t have to try to do it on our own. God supplies the grace, peace, joy, and strength that we need to lay aside our will to follow his.  His Spirit within us provides the power to obey his word and glorify him in every area of our lives.  We just have to rely on the Spirit, rest in the Lord, and remain in his word.

Here’s a great prayer to help us on those trying days:

~Psalm 143:7-8~ Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Practical tips for proper perspective:

1)Proper perspective comes from prayer. Ask God for help!

2)Proper perspective comes from the word. Take a few minutes to read or listen to the Bible!

3) Proper perspective comes from remembering why you do what you do. Be purposed to turn your thoughts from yourself to your tribe!

4) Proper perspective comes from praising the Lord. Recount your blessings and list them back to the Lord. Turn on the praise music and rejoice in the Lord!

5) Proper perspective comes from lifting your eyes up from yourself and your problems to Jesus as Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend!

6) Proper perspective comes from being filled with the Spirit. Repent of any sin, do the things above, and let the Spirit rule your heart and home!