Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Matthew 6:14-6:15 If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive your sins. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mark 11:25 When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

These are the words of Jesus (in red in some Bibles) as recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. The importance of forgiveness runs throughout the Scriptures. Yet it’s so easy to hold grievances and grudges against those who hurt us, disappoint us or offend us. It’s so easy to judge or criticize others. Forgiveness isn’t easy.

The Matthew 6:14-15 scripture bothered me. Unless we forgive others God won’t forgive our sins? This doesn’t sound like a promise from our loving God. Yet it is. John MacArthur’s Commentary helped me understand this. He says this statement does not mean that God will withdraw justification from us. As believers in Jesus Christ we have “a permanent and complete acquittal of the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin.” MacArthur goes on to say, “Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing.”

Forgiveness is God’s marvelous requirement to free us from our incessant need to judge others and our need to see ourselves as a victim. We must let go of pride and humble ourselves in order to forgive. Forgiveness frees us. Unforgiveness blocks our access to God who is holy. When we forgive our hearts are pure, loving, open and kind.

Dear Father,
We thank you for your forgiveness which we do not deserve. Help us forgive others daily. Help us accept others without judgment. Show us when we are holding onto a grudge or a past hurt. Show us when we are judging. Help us be humble and vulnerable; help us forgive others daily. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We thank you for the freedom we have in You.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Q.  In the last year my husband has become irritable over minor things. He’s critical and blaming toward me and the kids. He blows up when driving in traffic, almost to the point of “road rage.” He also is working long hours and seems indifferent toward me and toward other members of the family. I’ve tried to talk with him about what’s bothering him but he gets angry about my attempts to understand or help him. My Mom thinks he’s depressed, but if so it sure is disguised. What do you think is the problem? And what can I do to help him?

Depression in Men is Often Disguised
Your husband may be depressed. Depression in men is often masked or hidden. Typically someone who is depressed shows this with sadness, tearfulness, fatigue, loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness. However, these are not necessarily the symptoms of depression in men. Male depression is often not recognized because it is revealed in behavior rather than in feelings; depression in men may be disguised. This stems from the fact that boys are wired and raised to “be strong,” to not be “sissies” who cry. Since boys learn to avoid their feelings from a young age, when they become depressed they express this through their behavior. The sad feelings are there; they’re buried and avoided. But it is manly to get angry.
Depression Due to Loss
Loss is often the triggering factor in depression. Has your husband faced a major loss in the last few years? The loss of a parent or sibling through death or the loss of a job, an economic loss or a denied promotion can be a cause of hidden depression in men.
Depression Due to A Mid-Life Crisis
Many men go through a mid-life crisis which can be a form of depression. They are disappointed by life and begin to wonder, “Is this all there is?” They may be unhappy or disappointed about many areas of their life. They may feel empty inside, with a spiritual hunger for life to have more meaning.
Depression in men can be disguised in a number of ways. The anger and irritability you describe is often one of the common symptoms. Workaholism is another. Work stress can cause depression, but work can also be used as a way to cover up depression. The more depressed a man becomes the more he may throw himself into his work in order to numb his feelings.

The depressed man may also pull away from all close relationships. Since he wants to avoid feeling his inner sadness he avoids all feelings. He becomes cold and distant. Dr. Archibald D. Hart, in Christian Counseling Connection, says that after the male distances himself from others he searches for outward reasons for his withdrawal. This can result in a great deal of fault finding and blaming of his family. Hart goes on to say, “I wonder how many divorces are the result of unrecognized male depression.”
Helping Your Depressed Husband
What can you do to help your husband?
1. Insist that he talk about what’s bothering him. If you can pinpoint a major recent loss in his life encourage him to talk about the loss. For example, if he lost his father, encourage him to talk with you about his relationship with his father.
2. Listen carefully and don’t interrupt. Encourage him to continue talking by nodding your head or waiting for him to continue. Ask, “Is there more about that?” Be accepting of whatever he says is bothering him. Don’t argue or question at this point.
3. Urge him to face any problems he has revealed or that you know about.
4. Counseling and/or medication may be needed and can be very helpful. If he’s lost faith in God or views life as meaningless, talking with a pastor can help.
5. Reading Men in Midlife Crisis by Jim Conway may give you further help.

“He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15 NIV

Blessings, Dottie

This post appeared previously on Taber’s Truths.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inspiring Memoirs: Coming to Christ from Other Worldviews

From the Cauldron to the Cross: My Journey from Wiccan to Christian
By Shari Hadley

From the Cauldron to the Cross is a gripping account of the author’s experience as a practicing Wiccan who by God’s grace came to faith in Christ. Hadley describes her abusive childhood, her negative self-image and dabbling in the occult as a teen-ager. She met and married a man kinder than anyone she had ever known. They had a son and ten years into their marriage her husband was suddenly killed in an accident. Following this she fearfully went to a church and pursued help from the pastors and a teacher. She accepted Christ and renounced all other gods and occult practices.

This did not end her troubles. Hadley’s vivid description of the continuing oppression she experienced from evil spirits is eye-opening. She describes spiritual warfare in which she is besieged by voices, thoughts, visions and fear as “the spirits” attempt to disrupt her Christian journey.

Shari Hadley is to be commended for sharing her pain and the reality of spiritual warfare. Readers will gain an understanding of friends who dabble in new age or occult practices and of how uncomfortable they may be in church. They will need help from a counselor knowledgeable about spiritual warfare. Hadley is now a new creation in Christ and her journey continues.

Dr. Neil T. Anderson’s Forward gives valuable insight about Shari’s journey and the steps to freedom from bondage. His books are valuable life changing resources.

Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church
By Lynn K. Wilder

Unveiling Grace is an amazing true story of one family’s life as faithful Mormons for thirty years followed by the gradual realization that Mormonism is a false gospel built on an authoritarian structure that demands complete obedience and steadfast works to gain eternal rewards.

The author, a tenured professor at Brigham Young University at that time, describes in detail the life they enjoyed as Mormons, how and why they were deceived by Mormon teaching and beliefs, and the tremendous struggle each member of the family went through before accepting the Jesus Christ of Scripture. When they began to doubt they immersed themselves in the New Testament and their eyes were opened to the Truth.

There is much to be learned from Wilder’s book. Though I already knew Mormon beliefs were false I was surprised to learn the details of this. Many of their beliefs are completely opposite Christian beliefs. Hopefully this book will help many Mormons find the Truth. Christians should also read this book so we will know how to witness to Mormon friends. A short guide at the back of the book details the major differences in teaching including - the Bible is not infallible, God the father has a body of flesh and bones, belief in a plurality of Gods, the Trinity is not accepted, Christ’s atonement didn’t cover all sins, eternal life requires grace plus works.

Surprised by Oxford
A Memoir By Carolyn Weber

Surprised by Oxford is a remarkable and very literary memoir of Carolyn Weber’s year of study at Oxford; a year in which she went from agnosticism to true faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout the book we listen in to her witty and wise conversations with friends, and professors, believers and non believers. She shares her doubts and struggles and steps to belief. The book is conversational and beautifully written with gems of wisdom, literary allusions, and quotes. Weber demonstrates that the Christian faith is supported by rigorously reasoned truths.

You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Other memoir book reviews on Faithnotes are here and here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Q.  My husband and I are active in a church and have built our marriage on faith in God. However, when I try to discuss questions or ideas about faith or talk about spiritual experiences my husband has nothing to say. He won’t even share his ideas about Sunday’s sermon. I want to know my husband on a deeper level and grow together spiritually. I think this would strengthen our marriage and increase our intimacy with each other. What do you suggest?

A. You raise a problem which many couples experience. Often the wife is more verbal about her faith and more comfortable with sharing intimate feelings, thoughts and experiences. She may be eager for more spiritual intimacy with her husband than he is ready for. So how can you grow together spiritually?
Be Accepting and Non-Threatening
Let your husband know you’re thankful he is involved in regular worship with you. Couples who worship together strengthen their bond with each other and with God. Let him know you appreciate the togetherness you have in this. A small change toward more intimacy that might be non-threatening would be to hold his hand during prayers in church and during grace at meals.  

Share your own thoughts about the sermon without digging for his response. You can hope for a response, but don’t do anything that to him would seem like a demand for a response. He needs to feel safe in order to open up and be more vulnerable.

When you talk with him use “I statements” and share your own feelings. For example, “I was very touched by the sermon this morning, especially ...” Or, “I realized something I need to work on spiritually when the minister talked about...”  Avoid “you statements” and questions. For example, “Did you agree with…?”  What did you think about...?”  He may feel threatened by your questioning him or by your dissatisfaction with him. 

Other Ways for Couples to Grow Together Spiritually
An adult Sunday school class or a small group can help you grow together spiritually. When your husband hears other men sharing their thoughts in the class or group this may give him greater comfort in sharing.

Attend a weekend retreat for couples such as Weekend to Remember or Marriage Encounter or a weekly Third Option Group. These are often life-changing in opening up marital communication.
Read a daily devotional, read scripture and pray together. These may be less threatening and can help you grow together spiritually.

There are several books that can help couple with their spiritual growth:
·       Real Relationships, Love Talk, and The Love Talk Devotional for Couples are books by Les and Leslie Parrott. The Parrotts believe every couple has a restless aching not just to know God individually but to experience God together. Their books provide a road map for cultivating rich spiritual intimacy in your marriage. 
·       Quiet Times for Couples by H. Norman Wright. The 365 daily readings in this popular book are designed to open up genuine communication between husband and wife.  Each devotional gives a framework for conversation, making it easier for couples to share about the deeper parts of their lives.
·       Couples Devotional Bible  is a very helpful resource to couples wanting to deepen their relationship with God and each other. A brief devotional message, a scripture, and “Marriage Builder” questions for discussion are given for each week day. A “Weekending” short devotion with scripture is offered for Saturday and Sunday. 52 weeks of devotions are woven through the entire Bible and are written by 140 well known contributors.
·       Night Light: A Devotional for Couples  by James and Shirley Dobson is also very good.

Deepen your own faith, pray for your husband and God will grow both of you.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 5:33 NIV

Blessings, Dottie

This blog originally appeared on Taber’s Truths.