“Need some radical surgery?” January 6

 

Do you need some radical surgery? - Do you need to perform some radical surgery before something in your life causes you to sin? Do you need to set some boundaries to protect your marriage or someone else's? What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it ever allowable? Is it OK if you're just not happy? And what about loving your enemies? Jesus addressed all these very real issues in the "Sermon on the Mount" in today's New Testament reading.Do you need to perform some radical surgery before something in your life causes you to sin? Do you need to set some boundaries to protect your marriage or someone else’s?

What does the Bible say about divorce? Is it ever allowable? Is it OK if you’re just not happy?

And what about loving your enemies? Jesus addressed all these very real issues in the “Sermon on the Mount” in today’s New Testament reading.

Have you wondered why God doesn’t seem to be blessing your plans? Has He, seemingly, withheld some promotion? Could it be that you failed to seek His wisdom beforehand and, merely, asked Him to bless what you wanted? Read more about this in “Hey, by the way, Lord …” from our Old Testament reading.

Also read about “The Lord Who Hears” and “The Fruit of Going Our Own Way.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 11 & 12
Psalm 4.1-3
Proverbs 1.28-33
Matthew 5.27-48

 

Need some radical surgery?

 

Matthew 5.27-48:

Surgery & Boundaries

 

There is so much in this section of the Sermon on the Mount.

In verses 27-30 Jesus talks about plucking out eyes and cutting off hands, what we sometimes refer to as “radical surgery.” He wasn’t advocating self-mutilation. He was using exaggeration to make the point that we need to get rid of things that cause us to sin.

For example, let’s say you work with someone to whom you feel attracted. Perhaps you start confiding in one another, going to lunch, etc. If either or both of you are married, it’s not appropriate! You need to cut it off, immediately!

We deceive ourselves into believing we’re not doing anything wrong and we can handle it, but it’s one of the snares of the devil. And if it has already gone too far, you need to find another job, get a transfer to another department, make yourself accountable, and, if you are married, confess it to your spouse (you may need to seek godly counsel about how to do this)! Radical, yes, but that’s exactly what Jesus was talking about here!

I’ve talked to many women and men caught up in sexual immorality. They often say the same thing, “I didn’t mean for this to happen!” But they failed to heed the warnings and do the necessary surgery.  Continue reading

“What becomes of the brokenhearted?”+ LINKUP

 

Picking Up the Pieces - Divorce, separation, adulterous or unhealthy relationships and break-ups of every kind ... who hasn't experienced the hurt of losing someone or had the need to call it quits. Maybe you haven't personally, but you probably know someone who has.Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Picking Up the Pieces: Recovering from Broken Relationships by Lou Priolo.

 

Divorce, separation, adulterous or unhealthy relationships and break-ups of every kind … who hasn’t experienced the hurt of losing someone or had the need to break off a relationship.

You may be the one who was deserted by someone who said they would never leave you. Sometimes the pain is worsened by the knowledge that your former spouse committed adultery, emotionally or physically.

Or you may be the one breaking off a relationship that you know needs to end, but the sadness seems unbearable. In some cases, you may be the one who went outside of your marriage, either committing full blown adultery or by getting involved in some other inappropriate relationship. While you know the relationship was wrong, how do you get rid of those “lovin’ feelings”?

Or maybe you haven’t personally experienced that kind of hurt or struggle, but you know someone who has. Lou’s book may be just the answer.

From the introduction:

“Will this ache in my heart ever go away?”

As a professional counselor, I’ve been asked that question a hundred times in dozens of ways. If you are reading this book, chances are that you (or someone you love) have been asking this question, too. When a romantic relationship ends, the confluence of potentially depressing emotions can wreak havoc in the lives of those involved. This is especially true for the person who didn’t want the relationship to end. But for the Christian, there is a very good answer to this oft-asked question.

Yes! Your pain will go away in time.

For a Christian who knows and is willing to do what the Bible says, the heartache will be healed. And the more of God’s Word a person implements, the sooner the anguish will stop. If you are the one who is hurting, there are specific things you can do to ease the pain and help yourself get back to the way you were before the breakup.

This book was originally titled, Losing that Lovin’ Feeling and contains thirty-one short chapters, each one based on a song title, to help you or someone else, “lose those lamentable ‘lovin’ feelings’ as quickly and righteously as possible.”

There are chapters like “How Can I Mend My Broken Heart?,” “How Do Fools Fall in Love?,” “Can’t I Stop Loving You?,” “Why Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “What Good Comes to the Brokenhearted?,” “Won’t Be Cruel,” and “Someday Your Prince Will Come.” Each one is designed to address some aspect of the strong and painful emotions involved when relationships are broken.  Continue reading

Relationships: “We can’t communicate about anything!”

 

We can't communicate about anything!Welcome to Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible and on other subjects related to living the Christian life. My “day job” is biblical counseling. I’m an ACBC certified counselor. I meet with couples, families and individuals to help them find God’s answers for the issues and struggles they face.

Besides meeting with people formally, I am frequently asked questions at church or by email. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like to see answered (using only a first name or initial) you can submit it here.

 

TODAY’S QUESTION:

From John:

My wife and I have huge communication issues. We don’t seem to be able to communicate about anything! It seems like everything is an issue with her and I don’t usually react the way I should. We fight about the kids, my friends, her family, my family … you name it! I think she’s too critical and she says I’m too selfish. We both know we shouldn’t be talking to each other like that, but we don’t know where to start to fix it.
Continue reading

Relationship Q & A: “Physical Abuse”

 

Physical Abuse: A few weeks ago my husband hit me. He said it would never happen again, but it did. I hope you can tell me what to do.Welcome to Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible and on all kinds of other subjects related to living the Christian life. My “day job” is counseling. I’m an ACBC certified counselor. I meet with couples, families and individuals to help them find God’s answers for the issues and struggles they face.

Besides meeting with people formally, I am frequently asked questions at church or by email. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like to see answered (using only a first name or initial) you can submit it here.

 

TODAY’S QUESTION:

From J.:

A few weeks ago my husband hit me. The first time he told me it would never happen again, but last week it did. We have only been married 2 years and we have a new baby. My parents don’t live here, but I did talk to his mother. She seems to be concerned, but she doesn’t want me to tell anyone. I love my husband, but every time something goes wrong, I start to get afraid. I hope you can tell me what to do?
Continue reading

May 22 “Friendships: kisses & winks”

Friendships can be confusing. Sometimes those who appear to be our friends turn out to be our enemies, at least spiritually, and our worst critics can be truer friends.

friendships

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 15 & 16
Psalm 66.8-15
Proverbs 16.27-30
John 7.1-27

2 Samuel 15 & 16:

Trusting in the sovereignty of God

We see David’s trust in the sovereignty of God in these two chapters. In 15.26 David instructs the priest, “Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus. “I have no delight in you,” here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.'”

Then in chapter 16 Shimei one of Saul’s descendants follows David and his men cursing and throwing stones at him and Abishai, one of his generals, offers to take off Shimei’s head!

David responds by saying, “So let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ And David said to Abishai and all his servants, ‘See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.”

Responding to our critics

criticism

This is a great example of how we should respond to criticism in our lives. Whether or not the criticism is justified, God has allowed it for some purpose. If it’s unfair or ill-intended, allow God to deal with it.

Romans 12, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Proverbs 12.15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” It’s so easy for us to dismiss any counsel or criticism we don’t like, but over and over in Proverbs and other places in the Bible we are encouraged to listen. Even when criticism is unfair on untrue, there is generally a nugget of truth in it. So listen, take it to the Lord, and leave your critic in God’s hands. Continue reading

March 16 “The “Law of Vows” & a right view of authority”

How does the ancient “Law of Vows” apply to us today? And what does it have to do with a right view of authority?

authority

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 29 & 30
Psalm 34.15-22
Proverbs 11.30-31
Mark 14.27-54

Numbers 29 & 30:

The “Law of Vows” & a right view of authority

Chapter 30 covers the “Law of Vows.” God takes truth and honoring our word seriously. Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matt. 5.37a). Part of the “Law of Vows” had to do with authority. If a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.

How does the “Law of Vows” apply to us today? First it should serve to remind us that God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. This principle is still true today in our marriages, in the workplace, and other areas where we are under authority. Continue reading