Issue: I give gifts to my friends all of the time and they don't seem to appreciate it. Do I need new friends?
Insight: We all express and receive love in different ways. Giving gifts is one of them, however it could be that those friends who seem to have a problem with you giving gifts to them, may not give and receive love that way. Watch how they express their appreciation for you and it will give you a clue of what to do for them when you want to show them that you appreciate them.
Issue: Is it possible to still love Jesus and live a sinful lifestyle? Like promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, etc.
Insight: I believe it is possible for them to love Jesus and still be living a sinful lifestyle. It would be an indicator of the depth of their love and commitment to Jesus though. The more you love Jesus, the more you try to be like him. Someone who is bound to habitual sin; has to come to a place where they love Jesus enough and are willing to trust Him enough, to allow Him to set them free in those areas. Many people compartmentalize their lives and allow God only into parts of their life, not into every area. Once again, it just portrays their level of commitment. However, be cautious about judging people based on their lifestyles, truly it is only Jesus who knows exactly the heart of these people and only He knows the exact depth of their love and commitment to Him. My challenge for you is if you know someone living a sinful lifestyle, but says they love Jesus, continue to pray that their relationship with Jesus would continue to grow and deepen. Let Jesus do the rest.
If God puts it in your heart to say something to them, ensure that you do so out of a place of love. Every time Jesus confronted someone it was done in love, not judgement.
Issue: I used to be really close to God, however in the last few years as I look back all I see is pain and misery. Where was God in that painful time? Why wasn't he there for me? If God really loved me he would have been there.
Insight: I am so sorry that you have had such a difficult time in your life over the past few years. There are several reasons why bad things happen in our lives, however God is everywhere, all the time, even if we don't see it. It reminds me of the footprints poem.
I believe that our thought processes always go in a negative direction if we are not actively watching our thoughts and directing them in a positive direction. 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, "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." We as Christians need to watch our thoughts and make sure that they line up with the truth found only in Jesus Christ.
I myself have experienced times when I have felt like I was abandoned by God, but now as I look back I can see exactly the moments he picked me up and carried me. Life is not easy and there will be times in our lives that are painful, just know God is always there and he waits for us to reach out to him. I have found that a change of perspective helps dramatically. For example, the poem describes a person who can only see the footprints. Now if that person had looked at what happened from a side view, the person would have seen Jesus carrying them. It is amazing what a change in perspective can do when examining your life. The best way to get a fresh perspective is to talk to someone you trust, and listen to their view of what is happening. Another great thing to do is talk to God. Ask him to show you where he was in those dark times. He will reveal it to you.
Insight: This is quite a question. The answer you would find our culture is promoting is that sex is a normal facet of any romantic relationship, I disagree. Our culture also promotes the belief that marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn't really mean anything, once again I disagree. Our culture promotes the belief that love is a fleeting emotion and people fall in and out of love all the time, again I disagree.
The Bible is quite clear that sex outside of the covenant of marriage is a sin. The covenant of marriage more than a commitment. A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man. A marriage covenant is the agreement to be united as one flesh with one another until death, this is an agreement between a woman, a man, and God. Therefore, sex outside of this covenant is sin. It is that simple. The Bible is also clear that love is a choice, not just an emotion. When two people get married they are making the decision to love one another and only one another for the rest of their lives. Jesus commands us to love one another multiple times in his teachings, if love was only an emotion could it be commanded? No.
Now you asked me what my thoughts are, and this paragraph is my answer to that question. From my observations and my own experiences, I can tell you that sex creates a bond between two people and this bond is not easily broken. Sex is meant to join two souls together and when people have sex outside of marriage, this bond tears at the heart and leaves parts of your heart behind and takes parts of the other person's. It is messy and painful. I do not believe that sex can ever be considered casual, I believe that at some point some people's hearts are so tattered, they think to themselves 'What is one more rip?' This is how it gets devalued. In my observations I have seen wonderful people feel like they were worth nothing because they had sex with someone and then that someone walked away. Wonder why depression is rampant in our world, look at what we value. We put more stock in relationships with each other than our relationship with God. Try the reverse and see what happens, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Issue: My wife is not submissive to me. I really can't tolerate it anymore. I feel like we are getting farther and farther away from each other. I've prayed about it and still nothing has changed. If things don't change we may need to divorce.
Insight: When you married your wife you made a vow to her to be with her through good times and bad times. Clearly, this is a bad time for you. Jesus said there was only one reason to divorce and that is infidelity.
Matthew 19:3-9 says, 'Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”'
Love is a choice. Every day we choose either to love or not to love. My challenge to you is to love her through all of this. 1 Corinthians 13 explains what true love is all about. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) If you love your wife with this kind of love, I am sure things will start to change.
The only person you can change is yourself. The only person we have complete control over is ourselves, therefore the only one we can change is ourselves. In life I have found that it is easier to see the faults in others than recognize my own short comings. Matthew 7:3-5 says, '“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Jesus wants us to focus on ourselves and making sure our lives are right and to stop focusing on others. Instead of focusing on how she is failing you, focus on loving her the way we are called to love. This love will draw you closer together whether she becomes submissive or not. This love will also enable you to forgive her for her past mistakes and be able to move forward from this.
Lastly, I wanted to ensure you had a clear picture of what that submission you expect from your wife is supposed to look like. Ephesians 5:22-33 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Submit equals respect according to this scripture. In that context we as the church submit to God by respecting God and his authority. Submission does not mean obedience; this is the expectation in a child - parent relationship, not a wife - husband relationship. The wife is to submit as the husband is to love. Therefore, if your love your wife the way God loves the church, then submission should come naturally. I believe there is a natural balance between the two. If a husband is not loving towards his wife, it is much harder for her to submit.
I want to make it clear that I am not judging you, I am just trying to give you some tools to enable you to save your marriage.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.