15 Characteristics of Pride


It’s hard to put on humility if you don’t think you have pride. The characteristics of pride can be understood as follows:

1. Being blind, unable to see pride. Pride envelops itself in smoke unless you’re in the mirror of God’s word and God, by His grace, allows you to see your sin and its magnitude. Many people see the logs in other people’s eyes and maybe the speck in their own. They may even say “I’m proud” and then move right on as if it were insignificant.

2. Being unthankful. Proud people think they deserve only what is good. The result is, why should they be thankful? As a matter of fact, they may even complain because they think they deserve better. They tend to be critical and complainers. One of our professors at the seminary sized up a student, saying, “This person is a walking minus sign!” They may grumble, be discontent, see the downside of everything, be quarrelsome and divisive. No one is safe around this type of person.

3. Outbursts of anger, withdrawing, pouting, being moody or impatient because one’s rights or schedules aren’t being met.

4. Perfectionistic-type persons who want to be the best at everything are also proud. Why? Because it’s self-serving. They brag and talk about themselves all the time. It reminds me of a cartoon of Garfield talking to Odie, the dog. He says, “Odie, I’m tired of talking about me. You talk about me for awhile.” Some have an inflated view of their own importance, abilities, and talents.

5. Seeking independence. Some proud people find it extremely difficult to work under someone else, to submit. They have to be their own boss. They say, “I don’t need anyone. I don’t need accountability for my faith and doctrine.” Others cut themselves down with comments, but inwardly they crave self-sufficiency.

6. Monopolizing conversations, being rigid, stubborn, headstrong, and intimidating, saying, “It’s my way or the highway.”

7. Being consumed with what others might think of them, being man-pleasers or man-fearers.

8. Being devastated by criticism.

9. Not listening very well. They compose what they are going to say while you’re speaking.

10. Being unteachable. They know it all. They’re superior. They can’t learn anything.

11. Being sarcastic, hurtful, jesting, saying, “That’s just the way I am. That’s my personality. I’m A-type. I’m dominant, choleric, lion, beaver, mule,” whatever else you want to call them!

12. Wanting to be praised or to be coaxed to serve. Unwillingness to initiate or commit to the right thing simply to please God. I like Jay Adams’ answer to people who leave churches and say, “That was a cold place.” He says, “Go warm it up!” Such people are just consumed with themselves, jealous, envious, not glad
for others’ successes, deceitful, covering up faults, rarely seeking help, fake, and hypocritical.

13. Being defensive: “It can’t be my fault!” Then they attack one another. Revenge, trivializing their sin, rationalizing it, justifying it, judging others by their own self-made standards. Often proud people rarely admit their sin or ask for forgiveness.

14. Lacking in biblical prayer, in service to other people, and in sacrificial deeds of love. (Thomas Watson said, “We should pray without ceasing because beggars beg.”) Instead, being touchy, irritable, or ultra- sensitive.

15. Resisting authority, being disrespectful. We say he or she has a submission problem. No, they have a pride problem. It’s displaying itself that way. This person is rarely concerned about the welfare of someone else. They view and judge others in terms of how others support them and their concerns, their ministry. They voice their preferences at times, even when not asked. When they do voice them, it’s without compassion or consideration for others. They convey an unapproachableness. Even when someone points out a flaw, there’s always a quick retort, minimizing it and moving on.

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** By Professor and Bible counselor Stuart Scott

21 Characteristics Of True Love According To The Bible

If you want to know and understand what true love really is, here are 21 signs, qualities or characteristics of a genuine love according to the verses in the Holy Bible.

1. Love Is Patient.

True love can tolerate pain or suffering without complaining or getting angry.

2. Love Is Kind.

True love has a gentle, caring and compassionate heart. It feels your sorrow; it feels your joy.

 3. Love Is Not Envious.

True love is content and thankful for its blessings and current possessions. It doesn’t envy other people.

 4. Love Is Humble.

True love is not proud and boastful. It is humble enough to admit its own mistakes and strive to correct them. It also forgives to get rid of hatred and enjoy peacefulness.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

5. Love Is Respectful.

True love respects and honors you as a person. It doesn’t put you into shame or humiliation.

6. Love Is Selfless.

True love is always thoughtful and concerned about the welfare of its beloved. It’s not selfish, inconsiderate, and greedy.

7. Love Is Calm.

True love always maintains the clarity of mind and softness of heart. Its heart is deep and its mind is not narrow.

8. Love Is Righteous.

True love always does the right thing. It disciplines itself to avoid wrongdoings.

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5

9. Love Is Honest.

True love is truthful. It’s happy living an honest life. It doesn’t lie and hide in darkness.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6

10. Love Protects.

True love always protects you and wants you to be safe.

11. Love Is Trusting.

True love trusts. It relies and depends on you. It recognizes your abilities, talents, skills and the good things in you.

12. Love Is Hopeful.

True love is optimistic. It includes you in its plans. It sees a bright future with you.

13. Love Is Persistent.

True love doesn’t easily give up.

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7

14. Love Banishes Fear.

True love eliminates fear, anxieties and insecurities that torment one’s heart, mind, and soul.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

15. Love Loves Even Those Who Don’t Love It.

True love does good things even to those who hate it. It will love you even though you are treating it as your enemy.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” – Luke 6:27-33

16. Love Comes From God.

True love brings you closer to God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7

 17. Love Makes A Great Sacrifice.

True love does extraordinary things. It goes out of its comfort zone or sacrifices things important to it just to show its love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

18. Love Loves through True Actions.

True love is not based on words or hypocritical deeds, but it is based on truthful actions. It doesn’t only believe or hope, but it does actions that will make the things it believes or hopes a reality.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18-19

“And now these three remain : faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

19. Love Loves Itself.

True love takes care of itself, not hurts itself. It develops itself to be stronger, healthier and more capable to continue loving.

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:28

20. Love Binds A Person’s Good Virtues In Perfect Unity.

True love transforms you into a whole new and better person.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14

21. Love Gives You The Confidence To Face Even The End Of Time.

True love keeps you away from sins and cleanses your soul so that you may become confident even on the Day of Judgment.

“In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him.” – 1 John 4:17

True love is indeed powerful and that’s why it’s not an easy thing to do. Giving pure love involves making great sacrifices and enduring a lot of pain. However, it rewards genuine happiness and fulfillment in life and beyond.

Perhaps we cannot make our love perfect on our first try. But love is not only a one-time act – it’s an act that we should practice consistently. Remember that practice makes perfect. Therefore, don’t stop trying to love truly.

I hope this article serves as your guide, not only in identifying if someone is giving you real love, but most importantly in learning how to give it. Take note that true love is more about giving rather than receiving. So start building true love inside you.

Note: All Bible verses presented in this article are based on the New International Version (NIV).

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**By Victorino Q. Abrugar at Inspiring Tips / Photo by Flora Westbrook at Pexels

The Marriage Box Myth

There is a marriage myth that few people know about before they marry. (We sure didn’t!) But spouses NEED to recognize it. That’s because the health of their marriages depend upon it. We’re talking about the Marriage Box Myth. It’s a myth we fell into and then climbed out of (and continue to climb “for as long as we both may live”).

To give you an idea of what we’re talking about here, regarding this myth, read the following:

THE MARRIAGE BOX MYTH

Most people get married believing a myth.
They believe that marriage is a beautiful box full of things they have longed for… companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.

The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box.
You must put something in before you can take anything out.

There is no love in marriage.
Love is in people. And people put love in marriage.
There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.

A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full.
If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.

(Written by Dr J Allan Peterson)

The Marriage Box Myth is True

Anyone who has been married beyond a month or two, KNOWS how very true this is! If we’re serious when we say our wedding vows to “love” each other for the rest of our lives, we need to be proactive in continuing to grow our love. It’s not a once for all time type of situation.

We didn’t know that when we first married. We should have. But we didn’t. Naively, we thought our love would just naturally grow more wonderful with passing time. However, that was a fantasy! The opposite happened. Our relationship grew to be ugly. That’s because we didn’t do what it takes to put love and romance into our “marriage box.” We just took and took and took and didn’t even notice that it was depleting our relationship of love. So that didn’t work out well for us at all!

We can only take a relationship for granted for so long before it goes into deficit mode of not having anything left in reserve. If we want love, we have to feed it, or it will starve to death. (At the very least it will become anemic.)

We found out the same thing to be true that Darlene Lopez wrote about in her “Marriage Box” article:

“Marriage truly is like an empty box. Many people get married for all the wrong reasons and have an abundant of expectations when they get married. I was one of them. I thought marriage was going to be filled with all sorts of companionship, sex, love, romance, intimacy, prayer, Bible studies, understanding, deep friendship and love. Boy, was I wrong! I found out that marriage truly is empty unless you are infusing into it daily.”

With that said, we want to ask you:

What are you doing to continue to grow your love relationship with each other?

Yes, we know that life gets busy. We fight that all the time (as does everyone)! But we still need to find the time to grow our love for each other. We cannot get so caught up in daily routines that we allow them to become our continual main focus.

“Marriage is a long journey, and any long journey requires occasionally getting off the road to eat, to fill up the car with gas, or simply to rest. Is your marriage slowly getting buried under the daily routine? What can you do differently to break out of the box and renew your love for each other?” (Gary Thomas)

Furthermore, we want to ask you: are you infusing love, or are you just taking what you can get? Here’s a truth to prayerfully consider:

“When we love another person the relationship isn’t just about us anymore. When we love someone we don’t starve them; we give to them. When we love someone, love becomes a verb that allows us to put stuff into the box. We give to the other person in a way that is meaningful to him or her and work with their schedule, not just ours. And we work with their tastes and preferences, not just ours.” (John, from his article, “What is Real True Love?”)

Further down in this blog John writes another truth:

“When we don’t put stuff in the box, we starve the relationship or marriage. We are takers, not givers, narcissists, not lovers.”

That is point on! If we are to love each other as Christ loves, we will be intentional in finding ways to show love in selfless ways—not selfish ways.

Humbly Fill Your Marriage Box

“Being married is an active process where we daily make our lives about each other and not about ourselves. There’s a quote that says: ‘Humility is not about thinking less of our self, but rather thinking of ourselves less.’ I need to practice having more humility in my marriage. I need to focus more on filling our box, rather than taking from.

“And when the time comes (and it will) when my hand reaches from corner to corner to find an empty box, may I be the first to fill it.

“Here’s to every husband and wife in their journey. May you always fight for your marriage, seek counsel when you need it, show grace where sin abounds and love like crazy.” (Lovelace, from her article, “The Marriage Box”)

We couldn’t say it any better! May we love each other extravagantly! That’s how Christ loves us. Now the challenge is for us to do the same. In Ephesians 5:1-2 we are told to “be imitators of God.” We are to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Another way of saying this is presented in The Message:

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

THAT type of love is what we are to keep putting in our marriage box.

Your Marriage Mission

Make it your mission to find out what you can put into your marriage box. You need to find that, which will help you to love one another as you originally vowed to do. This is what God would have you (us) do as husbands and wives. It’s also what God wants us to do as His children so we display His love to a world that needs to witness His love in action.

God wants us to live with each other in such a way that our love reveals and reflects the love of Christ. God can use this to prompt others to say, “I want to know their God better.”

“A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

May it be so, Lord! May it be so!

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** By Cindy and Steve Wright at marriagemissions.com / Photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexel

Screening An Un-Blanked-Out Documentary

“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

At the judgment seat of Christ, all of God’s ways will be seen to be perfectly just and righteous. That’s why we’re commanded to wait to judge — because there will come a day when even the secret motives of men’s hearts will be revealed, and then and only then can we judge righteously. Jesus says the same thing in Luke 12:2-3:

“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.”
‭‭
The picture I have of the judgment seat is one where everyone who has ever lived will see my every thought, word, deed, and motive, and will be able to see that God’s judgment of my life is perfectly righteous. It’s as if a documentary of all my life — inward and outward — will be on a giant movie screen for everyone who’s ever lived to see. And all people, finally having “perfect information” so to speak, will come to the same exact conclusion that God does in His judgment of my life. For some, that may be an absolutely terrifying idea. But for Christians, we can take comfort knowing that God has “blotted out” those sinful spots on the tape (Psalm 51:9), because He chooses not to remember (Isaiah 43:25) any of the sins that we confess in the name of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7,9). Praise God for that!!

But Christian, let me ask you a question: how will you feel if, when it’s “showtime” for your documentary in heaven, your entire movie is just a series of blanked-out scenes and bleeped-out speech? No sound, no video, all blank? Definitely no sin there to speak of, just hours and hours of silence. Non-footage, so to speak. It’s as if your life almost never took place. Will that be cause for rejoicing?

Or does that sound terrible to you? I must say that I will be utterly heartbroken if my documentary is all bleeped-out footage, with nothing worth screening in the final day! I want more than that! I want a life that brings God glory and honor and praise (Philippians 1:10-11), a life He can put on display to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places as evidence of His trustworthiness and wisdom and power (Ephesians 3:10, Job 1:8), a life that is not merely stripped of all evidence of bad, but that fulfills all the good that God had in His heart when He made me (Ephesians 2:10)! (I encourage you to read those verses and see whether that is God’s hope for your life too.)

The Holy Spirit says that “each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:13-15‬)‬‬. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want the subtitle of my movie to be: “saved, yet so as through fire.” To be sure, I’m not interested in reward, except that it will be something I get to throw at my precious Savior’s feet (Revelation 4:10). What I’m interested in is a life that brings God praise and glory in the final day, and the way to do that is to seek for there to be something left on the tape after the fire blots out all of the footage that dishonors the Lord.

Lord, according to Your Holy Spirit’s work in me, I want an un-bleeped tape! I want my life to count for You! I want to be a part of the manifestation that shames the devil and brings glory to Jesus Christ in the final day, that extols His trustworthiness and power.

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9-12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Our good deeds may never be evident to worldly-minded people during our life on earth. But our hope is that, in the final day, when all things are known perfectly, and they watch the movies of our lives, they would have cause to glorify God. Not because there’s a blank tape (unlike their filthy tape), but there’s a tape filled with evidence of God’s glory.

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**By Jeremy Utley © Copyright – Jeremy Utley. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at NCCF Church

10 Things You Should Know about the Bible’s Teaching on Men and Women

So God created man in His own image; in the image of He created him; male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27

1. We were created male and female by divine design

According to the Genesis creation account, God created humanity male and female (Genesis 1:26-28). Maleness and femaleness are creational, not contractual. They are divinely instituted rather than socially defined. Thus our gender identity cannot simply be renegotiated the way in which we refinance a mortgage or reschedule an appointment. God created us, and we are his creatures, both men and women.

2. We were created male and female in God’s image

Humanity’s binary gender design as male and female reflects in some mysterious way the nature of God. While sharing a common humanity, the man and the woman are unique and complementary rather than identical. This complementarity, in turn, reflects a facet of God’s own nature. God, too, is a unity within diversity (three in one, equal in personhood, distinct in role). This unity in diversity is beautifully reflected in human marriage, where the two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24-25).

3. The man was created first and given the responsibility to lead

Scripture teaches that first the man was created by a direct divine act of creation and given the responsibility to lead; subsequently, the woman was created by God from the man (Gen 2:5–9) and for the man (Gen 2:18–20). He is to subdue the earth and is given the name “Adam,” which also serves as the name of the entire human race. God calls the man to account and holds him responsible for the fall.

4. The man and the woman are partners in exercising dominion over God’s creation

The man and the woman jointly receive God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth, and to subdue it, exercising dominion. God creates the two as genuine partners, and this partnership envelops the man’s leadership and the woman’s support and participation in such a way that the two work in tandem, with complementarity. This genuine partnership can be fully reflected today where men exercise godly leadership without domination and encourage women’s robust participation within biblical boundaries.

5. Who we are as men and women defines the core of our existence, not merely its periphery

Having been created male and female, we are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Thus the way in which we live our lives is in and through our divinely created gender identities. These gender identities, in turn, are not merely superficial but run deep, affecting who we are as persons, family members, church members, and citizens. While the gospel extends to all of us, we do not cease to exist as men and women.

6. The fall distorted, corrupted, and confused who we are as men and women

Men and women are meant to live out gender diversity in unity. The fall destroys this prospect. Male and/or female domination are some of the extremes resulting from fractured gender relationships. It is only those redeemed in Christ who can hope to recover and live out God’s intended design. We should remember that the ultimate problem is sin, not a faulty gender design or a corruption of a perfect original. That said, even in its fallen state humanity still displays glimpses of the divine design.

7. God’s design is best

God’s design of humanity as male and female cannot be improved upon! God’s ways are far superior to our own. God’s design for man and woman—expressed in male leadership with male-female partnership—is an expression of his beauty, wisdom, and goodness. Through faith, and faith alone, we can appropriate God’s power to live out this design individually and in relation to each other.

8. The Bible’s teaching on God’s design for man and woman is consistent and coherent

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible paints a unified picture of what it means to be a man or a woman. The dual pattern of male leadership and male-female partnership pervades all of Scripture: from creation to the fall to redemption in Christ and to the final consummation.

9. Every generation must model and explain God’s design for man and woman to the next

God’s way is for men to lead their families, fathers to mentor their sons in biblical, God-honoring masculinity, and for mothers to mentor their daughters in biblical, God-honoring femininity. Not only is this to happen in the natural family, it is also to take place in God’s family, the church (e.g., Titus 2), especially where family structures are broken. How are you and I preparing our sons and daughters for living out their God-given design as men and women? How are our churches equipping those without role models?

10. Current cultural trends reflect humanity’s brokenness and deep-seated rebellion against the Creator and his design for men and women

Current cultural trends such as same-sex marriage or transgenderism are only symptoms—the result of humanity’s rejection of its Creator (Romans 1). Autonomous, libertarian human reason insists on its right to define itself in opposition to and rebellion toward God. Sadly, this root rebellion will incur eternal judgment unless people trust in Christ. As believers, by grace and through faith, we have the privilege to point to God through living out his wise and beautiful design before a world that languishes in sin and desperately needs salvation.

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**By Andreas J Köstenberger and Margaret E Köstenberger at Crossway.org / Photo the 12th-13th century Mosaic Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

Father I Know That All My Life

Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love, through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles, and to wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself, to soothe and sympathize.

I would not have the restless will that hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child, and guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am, in whatso’er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts to keep and cultivate;
And a work of lowly love to do for the Lord on whom I wait.

So I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied,
And a mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.

And if some things I do not ask in my cup of blessing be,
I would have my spirit filled the more with grateful love to Thee,
More careful, not to serve Thee much, but to please Thee perfectly.

There are briers besetting every path that call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot, and an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee is happy anywhere.

In a service which Thy will appoints there are no bonds for me;
For my inmost heart is taught “the truth” that makes Thy children “free”
And a life of self-renouncing love is a life of liberty.

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**By Anna Letitia Waring – 1850 / Photo by Lori McPherson

What He Must Be…

In pastor and author Voddie Baucham’s book, “What He Must Be,” he states that the man must lead in the Word.  To do so, he himself must be deeply rooted in the Word before he can lead his wife in this area.  I have outlined this book for single women to use as a reference guide for choosing a Godly mate and for men to strive for as God’s standard for them to follow.

The information detailed in this outline is not written by me, but was extracted from the book “What He Must Be,” written by Voddie Baucham Jr.  There are also additional notes I have added from his video series “Love and Marriage” on Youtube, the links are below. 

I am adding this to my blog to help raise my sisters’ standards in the men they consider as future husbands.  And to set the standard for brothers to live by and strive for as they prepare to be husbands to my sisters in Christ!

Ephesians 5:25-31 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, 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.”

Biblical Love

An act of the will, accompanied by emotion, that leads to action on behalf of its object; not led by emotion, nor is it void of emotion, that demonstrates itself by actions on behalf of its object

Marriage is a Ministry

  1 – It was God’s first command, “Be fruitful and multiply…”

  2 – A Training Ground for Church Leaders

  3 – An Illustration for a Lost World

  4 – The Preferred State

          a)  Be Prepared

          b)  Two States, One Standard

          c)  Jesus-Our Ultimate Guide

“Marriage is the God–appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God.  The ultimate purpose is to obey God, to find aid and counsel against sin; to call upon God; to seek, love, and educate children for the glory of God; to live with one’s wife in the fear of God and to bear the cross.”  — Martin Luther

1 – He Must Be a Follower of Christ

a)  A True Believer is Regenerate

a.      He must be born again

b.     There is an infallible connection between regeneration and salvation

b)     A True Believer is Repentant

a.      Repentance is at the core of the gospel message.  A man cannot claim regeneration if he shows no evidence of repentance.

b.     True repentance is the result of an accurate understanding of the significance and gravity of sin, coupled with an overwhelming desire for the remission of that sin through the person and work of Christ.

c)      A True Believer is Reformed

a.      Consistent, perpetual, undeniable, evidence proceeding from his mouth and life on a daily basis.

b. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (1 John 3:9-10)

2 – He Must Be Prepared to Lead

a)  He must lead like Christ

a.  Lead in Love

A man who loves like Christ will protect his heart

A man who loves like Christ will protect her heart

b.  Lead in the Word

Leading in the word requires personal time in the word

Leading in the word requires a grasp of the word

Leading in the word requires a Plan for Growth

Leading in the word requires patient instruction

VIDEO: If he is not a man who can mentor you in the scriptures, he not worthy of being your husband. 

Can he disciple and mentor you in the Word of God?

He has to be equipped to mentor and disciple your children in The Word.

He MUST be this before you even think about him!!

c.  Lead in Righteousness

He must be marked with an upright life

He must nurture holiness in his bride

He must influence his family in righteousness

Video:  A man who ensures your purity.

What he’s saying if he wants to get physical: “I want to use you and I want to dishonor you.”

He must be a man who desires for me to be Pure.

A guy who wants you to move in with him is saying, “I want all the benefits with none of the responsibilities.”

“Sex is like Fire.  You put fire in a fireplace and it warms the whole room.  You let fire out of the fireplace, it will consume and destroy everything in its path. It must be in the proper context…and biblically, the only proper context is Marriage.” — Voddie Baucham Jr.

d.   Lead in Selflessness

He will show restraint and patience throughout the courtship process

He must show Christlike selflessness

He must demonstrate his willingness and desire to put her needs above his own

VIDEO: He must be a man who understands what it means to put others before himself.  If he’s more interested in what he can take from you than what he can give to you, then he’s not the kind of man who leads in selflessness.  If he doesn’t treat you like a delicate flower, keep stepping.  Cause what you’re looking for biblically is a man who nourishes you as he would his own flesh.

e.  Lead in Intimacy

External Intimacy

Internal Intimacy

VIDEO: Intimacy happens when I let someone into a part my life that is not readily available to everyone.

Creates a hedge of protection around the marriage relationship that says this relationship is prioritized above all others.

3 – He Must Be Committed to Children

a)  Committed to having children

b)  Committed to investing in children

c)  Committed to supporting children

4 – He Must Practice the 4 P’s

He must be a Protector

He must possess personal strength, wisdom, and courage

He must be a Provider (Dependence on others is a perversion of biblical manhood)

He must have a job

He must have a work ethic

He must have a plan

He must be a Prophet/Priest

A man must Pray for his family

A man must Preach to his family

A Priest is an intercessor who represents his people before God

A Prophet is one who instructs his people in God’s truth

God has given husbands the responsibility of washing their wives in the water of the Word; Diligently teaching the Law to their children; and bringing them up in the discipline and instruction in the Lord

Love and Marriage Video Series, Voddie Baucham

Love and Marriage, Part 1 (sermon starts at 32min:50sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnTCl6Dvr5U&feature=related

Love & Marriage (part 1 – In the Beginning).wmv – YouTube http://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at – 32min:50sec A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 2 (sermon starts at 29min)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKGyFyW3-D4&feature=relmfu

Love & Marriage (part 2 – True Love).wmv – YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at 29min * A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 3 (sermon starts at 29min:15sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wAdURL_qdQ&feature=relmfu

Love & Marriage (part 3 – The Other Half).wmv – YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at 29min:15sec * A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 4 (sermon starts at 17min:50sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cybhnuvS1i0&feature=relmfu

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***By Nina Andres author of the book, “God Ordained Relationship”

***More sermons to do with Christian relationships can be found HERE! Covering all stages of a Christian relationship for men and women: single, courting / dating, marriage, home, bringing up children and all the bits in-between.

Lust Verses Love A Biblical Perspective

Most people know the difference between lust and love so what are they? What does the Bible define as love and as lust?

A Definition of Lust

Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body and it can take nearly any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It is an overwhelming self-absorbed desire or craving for an object, person, or experience that might be good but in most cases, is not. For example, a man or a woman can lust after their spouse and since they are legally married, there is no sin in this, however lusting after someone else’s spouse or someone who’s not married is sin, so clearly, lust and love aren’t the same at all and in many ways, they are actually opposites of one another, for example we can lust after riches, for drugs, for alcohol, and for any number of things that are detrimental to our wellbeing.

A Definition of Love

The way the world defines love and the way that God defines love are not even close to the same thing. As far as the world sees, love is a strong and warm affection that someone has for another or others or for something. It could be like that of a parent for a child or a spouse for their mate or it could be a love for reading, eating, drugs, alcohol, or even shopping. Some of these are good and well, but others can lead to ruin. Love can certainly be a strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from a kinship or close friendship, which I have for my own spouse and children and grandchildren and even for my friends but from the biblical standpoint, love and lust are no co-equals since one can be good, while the other can lead to harm.

But-I-say-to-you-that

A Biblical Definition of Lust

I like what C.S. Lewis wrote many years ago. He wrote “If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart.” This is a very good, biblical definition of lust in the heart. If you covet something or someone, that is lusting in the heart. Exodus 20:17 lists the tenth commandment as “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” so lust is not just about looking at someone of the opposite sex, or for some, looking at someone with lust of the same sex, it is coveting what you don’t have. It is a passionate desire to have what someone else has.

What Lust Can Lead To

David let his lust carry him away as “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (2nd Sam 11:2) and so he lusted after her in his heart. This led to adultery and later, to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. This is why James wrote that “after desire (or lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:15). The proverbs say “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes” (6:25). Jesus said that it was “out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt 15:19). Solomon understood this connection, writing that as a man “thinks within himself, so he is” (23:7a). You can commit adultery without ever committing the physical act. Jesus said that “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28) and of course the same thing applies to women.

A Biblical Definition of Love

There are so many places that define love in the Bible that it will be hard to select only a few. Paul writes that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1st Cor 13:4-7). The love of God is not about feelings or words but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Love is a verb; it is what you do more than what you say or what you think. We know that Jesus did not feel like taking on all of the sins of humanity, but His great love for us on the cross proved what the love of God is like. He died for us while we were still wicked sinners and His enemies (Rom 5:8, 10).

Conclusion

The differences between love and lust are that we don’t covet what we don’t have. We shouldn’t covet (lust after) our neighbor’s spouse or their goods (Ex 20:17). Love, on the other hand, “does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10) and this means “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19) but above all “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). The difference for believers is that we are told “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). The greatest display of love was not what Jesus felt or what God feels but it was revealed at Calvary. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and that’s just what He did. Lust harms, love sacrifices.

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**By Jack Wellman at what Christians wat to know / Photo by Mark Stebnicki at Pexels

35 Signs of A General and Spiritual Narcissist aka The Jezebel Spirit

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

A narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which a person has an inflated sense of self or importance. This disorder can cause challenges in all areas of life—at work, at home, in your health, and in your relationships. A narcissist is often characterized by behaviours of grandiosity. One of the root causes of narcissism is pride and wanting to exalt oneself above others, more on pride here. “Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride.” Quote by DC Robertsson.

It may be easy to spot narcissistic behaviour in someone else, but it can be more difficult to identify that same behaviour within oneself. When we’re looking inward, we often sugar coat our behaviour or deny it altogether.

If you are a narcissist, you might not think anything is wrong with you. That would be an expected response. It can be an insult to a fragile self-esteem to admit your need for treatment, but we want to encourage you to first admit there’s a problem, then seek the Lord in prayer for spiritual healing, as the Lord Jesus is also known as the Great Physician, the healer and restorer of all things. You can also seek assistance from a trusted Christian counsellor. This will help you find other ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth without these damaging behaviours.

It’s sad to say, but not everyone who claims to be Christian is really a follower of Christ. Many are simply pursuing their own agendas, be it money, fame, or power. These false disciples come in many shapes and forms, but perhaps none is more dangerous as the Spiritual Narcissist. A Spiritual Narcissist is someone who uses the Gospel to build themselves up while they tear others down. If left unchecked, their actions can inflict devastating harm on both Christians and non-Christians alike.

35 Narcissistic Traits

If a number of the narcissistic traits listed below are present in your life, we would encourage to reach out first to the Lord and /or a licensed Christian counsellor.

1. You ignore people’s boundaries

You might not feel like other people’s boundaries apply to you or that it’s not a big deal if you cross them. In fact, you may get a kick out of crossing them and getting a reaction out of the individual. On the other hand, you might not even notice another person’s boundaries or pick up on social cues that something is not acceptable.

When someone communicates a boundary with you, you may be shocked and feel a need for them to explain why you have to follow it and why it applies to you rather than simply respecting the boundary.

2. You feel superior to other people

You might look down on other people and feel like you are far superior to them in intelligence, looks, talent, and more. This superiority typically exceeds narcissists actual abilities or talents and is a defence mechanism meant to protect them from feeling vulnerable or putting a dent in their self-esteem.

3. You suffer from extreme perfectionism

You might suffer from extreme perfectionism and get enraged when you or others don’t perform according to your standards.

4. You have an excessive need for constant validation and attention

If you’re not getting attention or validation from other people, you may feel discouraged, unloved, and depressed. You might be incapable of validating yourself or feeling worthwhile without others telling you so.

5. You blame and shame others and never accept responsibility

If another person makes a mistake, you may intentionally shame them in an effort to damage their self-worth (lest they think they’re better than you). When you make a mistake, you also likely never accept responsibility and pass the blame on to someone else.

6. You get pleasure from putting other people down or causing them harm 

You might take pleasure in making people cry or hurting their feelings, giving you a sense of power to have such an impact on that person. It may also make you feel a sense of control.

7. You lack empathy and compassion

You may scoff at someone’s misfortune or fail to feel sympathy for someone who is ill. If someone in your life dies, you may feel very little emotion and lack compassion for those who are experiencing a loss.

8. You have a sense of entitlement

You may begrudge the world and think that people owe you. You might think you deserve more than you’ve gotten out of life or that you deserve a better job, higher pay check, better partner, or more expensive car. You may look to the luxuries of the world and believe you have a right to them.

9. You are arrogant and conceited

Paradoxically, underneath it all, narcissists often have very fragile self-esteem and are hypersensitive. But, narcissists are often at the same time extremely arrogant and conceited. You may believe no one would refuse you, find you unattractive or unqualified, or not choose you for a promotion, partner, project, etc.

10. You exaggerate your skills, talents, and achievements

You may over-exaggerate your abilities or what you’ve achieved in life and truly believe that you are at the top-level when it’s very apparent to others that you’re not. When you and someone else tell a story about the same experience but there are glaring differences and inconsistencies.

11. You are preoccupied with success, power, outward appearances, or status symbols

You may be preoccupied with achieving power through money, authority, position, or leadership. You could be obsessed with obtaining status symbols such as a large home, sports car, “trophy wife or husband,” vacation home, yacht, country club membership, and more.

You might be so focused on your appearance that you spend hours obsessing over what you eat, working out, or undergoing plastic surgery. You might also demand a partner do the same, too.

12. You constantly feel underappreciated or undervalued

If you fail to receive the recognition, thanks, or applause you feel you deserve you might feel underappreciated or undervalued. Even if you do receive it, but not to the level or degree you believe you should, you may still feel this way. You might constantly think people are taking advantage of you or do not understand how lucky they are to have you in their life.

13. You are self-righteous

You may believe you do everything right and never make mistakes. You might believe that you follow all of God’s rules or obey the ten commandments and because of this, you are holier than other people.

14. You think everyone else is ignorant

You may think that everyone else is stupid or less knowledgeable than you. You may expect them to mess-up, not know what you know, or need your help if they’re going to succeed.

15. You like to control others and get them to do your bidding

You may get a power high from getting others to do your bidding or manipulating them into doing so without them knowing it. You might like to control when a partner can do something and how often. You might also go out of your way to try to control your environment and mitigate risk to your ego.

16. You despise talking about feelings or emotions

Narcissists often struggle controlling their emotions and change the subject any time feelings or emotions are brought up. They may refuse to “go there,” change the topic or huff at the idea of needing to be “sensitive or talk about that kind of thing.”

17. You don’t listen, you just wait to talk

If you’re a narcissist, you may dominate conversations. When someone else is talking, you might not be listening, but rather just waiting to talk or occupying your mind thinking about all that you’re going to say and the points you’re going to make.

18. You are unfaithful in relationships

You might get a kick out of seducing others or getting them to do things they’d never do for you. You might feel an insatiable need to ensure other people are still attracted to you and even hold that over a partner’s head, warning him or her that if he or she isn’t on his or her best behaviour, you can always get someone else.

19. You often have people end relationships with you in less than six months

If you find that individuals regularly break up with you once they’ve got time to know you and all comment on similar behaviours as a reason why you might be a narcissist.

Often times in a relationship, it takes a while for the relationship to reach a level of comfort where an individual starts letting their guard down and showing their true character. If partners have repeatedly brought up troublesome behaviours and left you because of it, you may have some narcissistic behaviours.

20. You are a serial dater or seducer

Since narcissists get their validation from other people, you might be a serial dater or serial seducer, getting your sense of worth from how many people say “yes” to you or find you charming or attractive.

21. You are hypersensitive to slights

If you’re a narcissist, you might be incredibly sensitive to slights or criticism. These slights and critiques can be highly damaging to a fragile ego and may cause extreme rage or depression.

22. You demand special favours and compliance

You may constantly demand special favours from people around you or demand extreme compliance from a partner or children. If you don’t receive those favours or compliance, you might become extremely agitated and aggressive. You will never consider that you might have asked too much, but that the individuals don’t understand your worth, value, or entitlement.

23. You struggle to deal with stress and adapting to change

Because narcissists like to control their external environment and other people, they can struggle to adapt to change or stress, which naturally make a person feel out of control.

24. You get aggressively angry when you don’t get what you want

If you don’t get what you want, you may blow up or fly into a rage that includes threatening others, breaking things, causing violence, and more.

25. You get unusually depressed or upset when you fall short or fail

You may beat yourself up (or physically punish yourself) for not achieving a certain result, making a bad decision, or failing at a goal.

Below are 10 warning signs that you may be dealing with a Spiritual Narcissist:

1. They Constantly Reference their own Achievements

The Spiritual Narcissist loves to self-promote. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to share just how superior they are to the average believer. They typically go about this by listing off their own achievements. You’ll hear them talk incessantly about their upcoming book, their latest blog post, sermon series, missions work, or that time they led someone to Christ. Scripture tells us not seek our own glory and to let our work stand on its own (Proverbs 27:2), but the Spiritual Narcissist will flaunt anything they believe might bring them praise.

The best way for Christians to counter this display is to follow the example of Micah 6:8, live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD your God.

2. They Invade Conversations

The Spiritual Narcissist craves control, and their highest authority is always their own self-reference. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to invade the personal or private conversations of others. They’ll often do this under the guise of “helping” or “correcting” fellow Christians, but they have no real interest in two-way dialogue. You’ll notice they also have a way of injecting their own opinions into situations, and are the first voice their complaints about recent events in the Church. The Bible warns that such people create division among believers and serve only their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18, Psalms 36:1-4).

There’s no good way to speak with Spiritual Narcissists (Proverbs 26:4-5), the best response Christians can make is stand their ground and refuse to be bullied.

3. They Twist Scripture

Someone once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires”. In the same way, a Spiritual Narcissist uses scripture as a tool for their purpose instead of God’s. They approach the Bible with a closed mind, memorizing only a handful of useful verses that will justify their behaviour. Anything else, particularly scripture that conflicts with their actions, gets ignored. Like the men of Jude 1:4, they should not to be trusted.

The best defence Christians have against this kind of faulty theology is to simply read the Bible. The more familiar we become with God’s work, the more familiar we become with God.

4. They Profess Love, but Never Show It

Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Spiritual Narcissist is to see if their works match their words. Many will claim they have nothing but love and compassion in their hearts for those they rebuke, but their actions prove otherwise. Matthew 7 teaches us that we can judge a prophet by the fruit of his labours, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, what kind of harvest do they bring to God’s table? Division? Disdain? Cruelty?

Love is more than words, love is action. That’s what separates the true Christian from the Spiritual Narcissist.

5. They Talk, but They Don’t Listen

Listening can be a powerful tool for Christians. Listening builds trust, creates empathy, and fosters understanding among individuals. James 1:19 even urges believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The Spiritual Narcissist, by contrast, is quick to speak, quick to take offense, and incapable of listening. They enjoy being the loudest one in the room, and the idea of deferring to someone else galls them.

A true Christian listens to others, even when they might not agree with them. Listening requires that we be selfless, which is the one thing a Spiritual Narcissist can never be.

6. They Live in Echo Chambers

In 1 Kings 22Jehoshaphat king of Judah and Ahab king of Israel join forces to wage war against a neighbouring adversary. However, before they depart Jehoshaphat decides to inquire upon the Lord for guidance. Four hundred prophets’ parade in front of the kings proclaiming victory is at hand, but Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. When asked whether there is still a disciple of the Lord they can speak with, Ahab reluctantly admits,

“There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”    

Like Ahab, the Spiritual Narcissist lives in their own personal echo chamber. They surround themselves with individuals who will always affirm their existing preconceptions or opinions. Don’t make the same mistake. A wise Christian knows the right answer isn’t always the popular one.

7. They Refuse to Acknowledge Their Mistakes 

No one likes admitting they were wrong. It’s a humbling (and let’s be honest, sometimes embarrassing) experience, but accepting responsibility for your mistakes is the first step towards real maturity. Naturally, the Spiritual Narcissist will have none of it. Even when confronted with insurmountable evidence, the Spiritual Narcissist will continue to defend their actions as right. For them, it’s not about the greater good, it’s about protecting their self-image.     

Humility is a precious gift. It allows us to learn from our mistakes, recognize our faults, and grow into better people because of it. Take some advice from Philippians 3:13, accept what you’ve done wrong and strive to live for what comes ahead!

9. They Lead by Force, Not Example

A Spiritual Narcissist makes for the worst kind of leader. They’re petty, uncompromising, spiteful, and controlling. Heaven help the ministry which falls under their stewardship. By comparison, great leaders have always inspired their followers by example. They correct others without humiliating them, mentor those who need growth, and weigh their words carefully before speaking.

Take David, who despite his faults, showed humility and wisdom for God’s anointed rulers (1 Samuel 24). What about Peter? He spent his life testifying to Christ’s resurrection and building bridges of fellowship between strangers (Acts 10). Unlike the Spiritual Narcissist, a true leader knows their duty is to serve, not be served.

10. They Ultimately Put God Second

An expert in the law once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His reply,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” – Matthew 22:37-40

Many Christians know this verse by heart, but the meaning behind Christ’s words goes much farther than we realize. Not only is Jesus calling believers to love God with all their heart, he’s telling them our faithfulness is affirmed by our love for our neighbours. To put it simply: we can only love God if we’re unselfish. A Spiritual Narcissist will always put God second. Whether it’s by neglecting Christ’s commands, or how they treat their neighbours, pride will always make a person spiritually toxic. Don’t let yourself miss out on God’s amazing plan by being a Spiritual Narcissist.

Some More Bible Examples and Verses

Bible examples of people with one of the variant types of narcissism from covert, overt / grandiose, somatic, sexual, malignant, cerebral and spiritual: Diotrephes, Cain, Laban, Jezebel, King Ahab, Haman, Potiphar’s wife, King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Delilah, King Herod, Diotrophes, Ananias & Sapphira, King Sennacherib, The people of Sodom, Herodias, King Ahasuerus, Adonijah, Absalom, Judas, the Pharisees and Satan the devil.

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 amp)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” (2 Corinthians 11:13-21)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 1-3)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 13:4-7)

Christian Counselling to Overcome Narcissistic Traits

If you recognize these narcissistic traits in yourself, getting treatment can help you overcome your internal and external conflicts for a more enjoyable life and better relationships. Reach out to God in prayer for healing (sometimes deliverance is needed) and us, for Christian counselling to overcome narcissism. You were created in the image of God for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Perhaps you are currently in a season in which you do not feel that you are bringing glory to God. Maybe you are even questioning whether you were made in His image. Many people reach a point in their lives when they feel stuck. They want to move forward, but they feel powerless and don’t know where to turn. Using biblical principles, warmth, and patience, I will work with you to seek lasting, positive change that will help you reflect God’s image and bring Him glory.

Side Note: We are all sinners saved by grace, and we all need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. May the Lord help us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and give us much grace, discernment and wisdom in these last days.

**How to have a relationship with God : The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

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**By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC at Bothell Christian Counselling & Ryan Duncan at Crosswalk.com / Photo by Lilartsy at Pexels

Learn to Desire the Best for Others

Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.

Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.

When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.

God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.

If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.

It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!

Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.

God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.

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**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.