The Rivers Will Not Overflow You

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Isaiah 43:1-3

43 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

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This classic, beautiful statement by God to His beloved Israel is a clear reminder to us that when God allows us to go through deep waters He will be with us in it, and that He will not allow those deep waters to overcome us.

But we might say, “that applies to Israel, and not me”.  He repeats the same sentiment toward believers in Romans 8:28-39 when He says that nothing can separate us from His love.

Continue reading

An Illustration of The Impact of Crying Out To Jesus For Help

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I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, who told me a moving story that underscores the importance of simply crying out to the Lord in times of trouble.

The friend’s mother was a serial “marry-er”, who was also on a quest for “power”.  When he was young she was involved in witchcraft as a means of experiencing more power.  He did not know his father at all.   At one point he threw out all of his toys, because they were “talking to him” (demonic activity in his room).

His mom did occasionally go to church, so my friend had some awareness of Jesus.  At one point sometime before age 8 he was so desperate he cried out “Jesus, SAVE ME!”.  He believes that not only did he become a genuine Christian then, but the Lord took that cry for help and did much more.

At age eight his mom took him to a particular church down the street just one time in order to impress her current boyfriend.  She did not go back, but he continued to go.  After awhile a lady in the church noticed that he was always there by himself, and took him under her wing, picking him up for events, paying for him to go to camp, and more.  At age 18, the pastor of the church started mentoring him further.  Even though he had no earthly prospects for proper guidance in his life, Jesus provided.  Later, God has blessed him further through having his own family and a prosperous business.

In response to my friend’s cry, Jesus saved him on several levels – not only for eternity, but also out of his seemingly impossible circumstances.

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For more on the importance of looking to the Lord for help, please see Dealing With Narcissists – Crying Out Seeking God and Dealing With Narcissists – Crying Out Seeking God Continued

 

 

How Can I Heal? Psalm 56

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Psalm 56

56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, Continue reading

The Contentious Woman Changes

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Psalm 16:11

11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

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In the blog post Crying Out, Seeking God we discussed that sometimes the very first step on a road to healing is simply to cry out to God for help.  While you may not see an instant, dramatic change in your situation, you will often look back and see that time of crying out as the moment God put you on the path to His solution.

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I came across a blog entry by Dr. Linda Karges-Bone.  It is a broader discussion of her take on the “contentious woman”, but includes her testimony of asking God for help, which began a road of healing.  The entire blog entry is worth reading, but here is a key excerpt:

 

Now for the second round of reactions. It is quite possible that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I doubt it. Here’s why. I have done what researchers call a “double blind” test. I have tried it both ways. I lived the first decade of my marriage as a contentious woman. I pouted. I nagged. I saw myself as the unappreciated, overburdened, wife of a grumpy, difficult, selfish beast of a man. I have, at one point, been on the brink of losing my marriage. But two things saved me: God’s mercy and grace and my own decision to look for the good in my marriage instead of the bad.

I asked God to save my marriage. Continue reading

God Heals By Humbling – John Piper

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A devotional by John Piper, excerpted from his message “The Lofty One Whose Name is Holy

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“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:18–19)

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“In spite of the severity of man’s disease of rebellion and willfulness, God will heal. How will he heal? Isaiah 57:15 says that God dwells with the crushed and humble. Yet the people of Isaiah 57:17 are brazenly pursuing their own proud way. What will a healing be?

It can only be one thing. God will heal them by humbling them. He will cure the patient by crushing his pride. If only the crushed and humble enjoy God’s fellowship (Isaiah 57:15), and if Israel’s sickness is a proud and willful rebellion (Isaiah 57:17), and if God promises to heal them (Isaiah 57:18), then his healing must be humbling and his cure must be a crushed spirit.

Isn’t this Isaiah’s way of prophesying what Jeremiah called the new covenant and Jeremiah called a new heart? He said, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31, 33).

Isaiah and Jeremiah both see a time coming when a sick, disobedient, hard-hearted people will be supernaturally changed. Isaiah speaks of healing. Jeremiah speaks of writing the law on their hearts.

So the healing of Isaiah 57:18 is a major heart transplant — the old hardened, proud, willful heart is taken out and a new soft, tender heart is put in which is easily humbled and crushed by the memory of sin and the sin that remains.

This is a heart that the lofty One whose name is Holy can dwell with and give life to.”

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

A Good Admonition From Ravi Zacharias

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Ravi Zacharias (Facebook Post)
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“Over the years I have discovered that praying with people can sometimes do more for them than preaching to them. Prayer draws the heart away from one’s own dependence to a position of leaning on the sovereign God. The burden is often lifted instantly.

Prayer is only one aspect of worship, but one that is greatly neglected in the face of people who would be shocked to hear what prayer sounds like when the one praying knows how to touch the heart of God. To a person in need, pat answers don’t change the mind; prayer does.”

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

It’s Not NPD, It’s A Heart Issue

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1 John 2:16

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

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According to I John 2:16, ultimately all “sin issues” that people have (“all that is in the world”) can be boiled down to one of three root causes

  1. Lust / sexual immorality (“the lust of the flesh”)
  2. The desire for things (“the lust of the eyes”)
  3. Pride and the desire to exalt oneself (“the boastful pride of life”).

It could also be a combination of one or more as illustrated by the Pharisees’ taking actions to fulfill desires (“lust of the eyes”) that they then covered up so that they would not look bad (“boastful pride of life”). Continue reading

Dealing With The Dread of Getting Through Another Day

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Matthew 6:34

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Many of you may think “how am I going to get through this one more day”?  Or possibly living in dread of an event coming up that you are pretty sure your N is going to spoil.  Or something similar.

There’s another way to look at it.  If you look at this through the lens of God’s goodness (i.e. – everything that happens to you is good – it is just a matter of HOW it is good), and if you believe that God’s grace is fully sufficient for every need and that He will provide it as it’s needed – then you can view the impending possible difficulty as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on your behalf – either through working to shield you, or to give you the measure of internal grace needed to experience joy in the midst of trouble.  In other words, rather than dreading it, you could look forward with anticipation to seeing God work on your behalf.

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2 Chronicles 16:9

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His……

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2 Corinthians 12:9

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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But as Jesus taught His disciples to pray…..

Matthew 6:11

11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.

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……He does not give us tomorrow’s provision today, He will give that tomorrow – and give today’s provision today, as it is needed.  This gives us the opportunity to rely on Him, to trust Him, to need Him just a little bit more.  And that daily need for Him further builds our relationship with Him.

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John Piper has a very helpful illustration in his book “Future Grace“.  Piper said to picture God’s promise that His provision of grace will be there when needed like a river flowing toward the edge of a waterfall.  The river illustrates the grace coming to us in the future, and the edge of the waterfall is “today” or “this minute”.  God is promising the river of grace to continue to flow toward us, while we experience this moment’s grace at the edge of the waterfall.  The river of grace continuing to flow can give us peace today that the grace needed tomorrow will be there tomorrow.  Therefore, we can simply focus on applying His grace at this moment, and trust Him for future moments.

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Moving-picture-Niagara-Fall-waterfall-animated-gif

 

Part of our peace today that grace will be there tomorrow is the anticipation of the opportunity to learn and grow, and to see God act (in big or little ways) on our behalf.  While for some, the particular trial may not last very long, for others it may last a lifetime.  But we can trust that God has His loving purposes in either case, and that the lesson of trusting Him today for the grace needed tomorrow will carry us throughout our entire lives.

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

How Christ Conquered Bitterness (John Piper)

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How Christ Conquered Bitterness   by John Piper

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When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

No one was more grievously sinned against than Jesus. Every ounce of animosity against him was fully undeserved.

No one has ever lived who was more worthy of honor than Jesus; and no one has been dishonored more.

If anyone had a right to get angry and be bitter and vengeful, it was Jesus. How did he control himself when scoundrels, whose very lives he sustained, spit in his face? 1 Peter2:23 gives the answer.

What this verse means is that Jesus had faith in the future grace of God’s righteous judgment. He did not need to avenge himself for all the indignities he suffered, because he entrusted his cause to God. He left vengeance in God’s hands and prayed for his enemies’ repentance (Luke 23:34).

Peter gives this glimpse into Jesus’ faith so that we would learn how to live this way ourselves. He said, “You have been called [to endure harsh treatment patiently] . . . because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

If Christ conquered bitterness and vengeance by faith in future grace, how much more should we, since we have far less right to murmur for being mistreated than he did?

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Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective

Why God “Allows” N’s to Wreak Havoc – Using Them As Pre-Emptive Constraints

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2 Corinthians 12:7

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!

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Sometimes, God uses His tools not for “corrective” or “refining” purposes, but for pre-emptive purposes.  In I Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul had done nothing wrong.  The “messenger of satan” was only for the purpose of preventing Paul from exalting himself due to his extraordinary experience.  We as normal humans tend to get puffed up at the slightest “success” we experience – just think of how puffed up we would be if we had had an experience that was many multiples higher than anyone else had ever had.

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Paul needed the revelations that God gave him as part of his ministry preparation, but he also needed to maintain humility for his ministry.  So, God gave Paul the revelations, but also provided via satan a pre-emptive means for staying humble – not out of spite, or meanness, but for Paul’s good and God’s glory. Continue reading

Narcissist Traits – They Contradict Themselves

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Luke 6:45

45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

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We read in Psalms 5:9 of a narcissist (aka one with insolent pride*), that “there is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself.”   And we read in secular sources (and have experienced) that narcissists can say something in one sentence, and contradict themselves in the next sentence (or even in the very same sentence).  It seems crazy when they do this – they seem crazy when they do this – and they have no clue that they are even doing it.  What’s going on?  

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Ultimately, as Luke 6:45 indicates, it is our heart that drives our words and actions. Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – David’s Prayer for Deliverance

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One of the questions frequently searched by people that find this blog is, “how do I pray about this situation with the narcissist in my life?”.  This would include, “how to pray for the narcissist”, “how to pray for ourselves in the situation”, and “how to pray for God’s intervention”.  We have already mentioned David’s Prayer for Justice, and David’s Prayer for Protection.  Here is a prayer from David for deliverance.  It is important to understand that effective praying has some requirements – we cannot reject God’s ways on the one hand and at the same time expect Him to “jump through hoops for us” on the other hand.

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Psalm 40:13-17

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
Make haste, O Lord, to help me.
14 Let those be ashamed and humiliated together
Who seek my life to destroy it;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight in my hurt.
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
16 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
17 Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the Lord be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

Continue reading

Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God – continued

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James 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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When dealing with an N that is driving us crazy, in addition to crying out “God help me!”, God invites us to ask Him for wisdom.  This is HIS wisdom – not human wisdom – including practical  tips, things of the heart, and even things from God’s perspective.  James says that if you ask for wisdom, He will give it to you – generously.

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But there is an important qualifier to getting this wisdom – “not doubting”.  The doubting here is not so much doubting as to whether you will receive the wisdom, but doubting as to whether you really want it – whether you really want to do things God’s way even if He gave you the clear right answers.   We know this is through James’ statement in verse 7 – ” For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”   Double-mindedness is to have two minds or opinions on the same subject – wanting to do things God’s way, but at the same time wanting what we ourselves want.  With that heart, God could tell us the right answer, and we might not even know we received the answer because we were only looking for the answer we wanted to see.  In order to ask for true wisdom in dealing with the situation, to receive it, and to KNOW that we have received it, we must start with the heart attitude that we will act on the wisdom God gives us without interjecting our own “will” into the matter.

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This invitation to ask for wisdom is in the context of trials, which James describes as tests (we will look into this later).  Of course, our challenge with our narcissist certainly qualifies as a trial and a test.

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James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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So go ahead – ask for wisdom in how to deal with your challenging narcissist.  But don’t expect to get what you are asking for unless you are truly serious about doing it His way instead of your own way.  All along being aware of the admonition in Proverbs:

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Proverbs 14:12

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

 

Dealing With Narcissists* – Crying Out, Seeking God

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Psalm 34:4-7

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
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Often, we will not have any idea what to do with the difficult Narcissist-caused circumstance in which we find ourselves.  After struggling and searching about on our own for answers, we may ultimately reach the end of our rope – where the only thing we are able to do is to cry out to the Lord to help us, to save us, to deliver us.  We may not know what to ask for, but simply to ask God for a miracle.  While we may not see any immediate answers, this crying out to God and asking for help can be the first step of a process where He will bring us to much firmer ground.  We may not even see that this crying out is the first step – until we look backwards months or years in the future.
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We probably needed to get to our wit’s end, to be exhausted of all our answers, in order to motivate us to finally look up to Him for help.  And even though we made God our last resort instead of our first resort, He will graciously and lovingly respond in helping us – although it may be a process instead of a bolt-of-lightning miracle.  God has been there waiting to help us all along.

Continue reading

Anxiety Is A Form Of Pride

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[A daily devotional by John Piper originally published by BibleGateway.com.  Reprinted under permission]

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God Cares for You    by John Piper

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

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Why is anxiety about the future a form of pride?

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God’s answer would sound something like this:

I — the Lord, your Maker — I am he who comforts you, who promises to take care of you; and those who threaten you are mere men who die. So your fear must mean that you do not trust me — and even though you are not sure that your own resources will take care of you, yet you opt for fragile self-reliance, rather than faith in my future grace. So all your trembling — weak as it is — reveals pride.

The remedy? Turn from self-reliance to God-reliance, and put your faith in the all-sufficient power of future grace.

We see anxiety as a form of pride in 1 Peter 5:6–7. Notice the grammatical connection between the verses. “Humble yourselves . . . under the mighty hand of God . . . [verse 7] casting all your anxieties on him.” Verse 7 is not a new sentence. It’s a subordinate clause. “Humble yourselves . . . [by]casting all your anxieties on him.”

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This means that casting your anxieties Continue reading

Be Loved, To Love

We Love Because He First Loved Us

Boundlessly Good

God's Motive For All That He Does