Merely Well Behaved—or Beloved and Gifted? (On Joseph of Genesis)

Phyllis Nissila


I have heard yet another preacher expound on the superior character of Joseph of Old Testament fame who was betrayed by his brothers, unjustly accused by his master’s wife, imprisoned and then forgotten by two who could have helped him get out (see Genesis 37-50). Nevertheless, he consistently responded by taking the moral high ground.

The preacher insisted Joseph never complained; he never reacted imprudently to injustice.

And we ought to do the same while we wait for our own answers to prayer.

Indeed, perhaps our wait for God’s provision would be shorter if we, like Joseph, always mind our P’s and Q’s.

For that young man, it was a mere thirteen years, the preacher noted and estimated as a brief period of time, from when his brothers threw him in the pit until he was appointed to prominence in Pharaoh’s court.

For some of us, on the other hand, he noted, perhaps our bad behavior/attitude is not only what hinders our progress it may even be what delays God’s actions on our behalf—or worse, what stills His hand of deliverance and blessing altogether.

For we ought to, he noted, at all times, despite the cruelties of critics and circumstances, choose the high moral ground ourselves, react rightly in adversity, and then we will see God work on our behalf and end our troubles, whether they be self- or other-inflicted, whether caused by circumstance or happenstance.


Well, yes, of course.

In a sense.

I mean, didn’t The Law demand perfection for entrance through the famed pearly gates? (Actually, for how Jesus took care of that for us see below. But back to the post.)

Shouldn’t we, no matter what faces us, whether a sudden shock, continuous assault, or some pesky bad habit, always do and think and say the right thing?

And doesn’t the human logic of the good pastor make sense? If we shoulda coulda woulda we probably would not be in the pickle we’re in today.

Another sigh…


But if I may, my take on Joseph, whose story has inspired me over the years, tells me something quite different. Continue reading

Posted in Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Commentaries, Devotionals, encouragement in hard times, most recent posts, salvation by grace, spiritual survival, spiritual transformation, survival tools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Face–and Soul–of Abuse

Cindy Burrell at has linked the video that I have re-posted below. Her blog post is titled: “The Face of Abuse.” Her site and her ministry provide much help to people “on the other side” of videos such as this, as well as to those new to dealing with this nightmare.

The video clip is a powerful testimony to the reality of overt abuse.

But what the viewer doesn’t see is the damage caused by the covert abuse, the young woman’s undoubted loss of safety, confidence, hope, self-esteem, perhaps faith in God, in others (certainly the “other” who did these things to her); her dreams of love, and even, as she implies, her dreams of a tomorrow as her core erodes in the onslaught against her, and terror reaches critical mass. Continue reading

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The J-Team (On Spiritual Special Ops)

Phyllis Nissila


I listened to a fascinating presentation by a special operations trainer. He’s one of the developers of neuroscience based methods employed to build the body, brain, and psyche of qualifying applicants to high levels of resistance to outside and inside stressors to achieve a state called “ferocious resolve” [1]. Continue reading

Posted in Commentaries, Devotionals, encouragement in hard times, most recent posts, spiritual survival, spiritual transformation, survival tools | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

On the Church and Domestic Abuse: “Who Will Help Me Now?” (Lisa’s Story)

Phyllis Nissila

A responder to my previous post has prompted today’s story and comment.

What is so very disheartening,” she wrote, “is: it is ‘the church’ (her church), the leadership and long-time members that don’t care about abusive relationships as long as the marriage ‘looks decent’ in the public eye. Sadly, it is the secular crowd that have actually given me the protections that I have needed…”


I remember a case from years ago involving a young woman named Lisa, my sister’s room-mate at the time. Lisa was seven months pregnant when the incident, detailed below, occurred. Continue reading

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Update on “Is it The Silent Treatment or Emotional Survival?”: Another Good Resource


Many months ago I posted a guest commentary written by a woman who had left a long-term relationship because of verbal abuse:

There had been some physical abuse as well early on in the relationship, she reported, but in the end, it was the long-term, often unpredictable, spates of verbal abuse that left her numb.

She wanted to explain the difference, in her piece, between what’s called the “silent treatment,” itself abusive, and the opposite phenomenon, what she calls, “emotional survival”. They may appear to be similar, but are in fact, opposites. Continue reading

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On “The Gospel You Win Them With” (Be Careful)

Phyllis Nissila

I’ve been pondering an expression spoken by a pastor who was emphasizing the critical need to “preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) to the unsaved.

“What you win them with,” he said, is what you win them to.” In short, be careful what you preach. They will follow.

And it might not be the right path. Continue reading

Posted in Commentaries, Ex-Roman Catholic/Catholicism, most recent posts, Out of the Fire: On Leaving Roman Catholicism, Purgatory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nickels and Noses”? (On Measuring Success in the Church—More Encouragement for the Remnant)

Phyllis Nissila

I recently heard the idiom, “nickels and noses,” translation, “money and people,” referencing how success is counted in some churches.

Cute, but really?

How about one crown of thorns, two bloody beams, three nails, and success “counted” by our faith in same, that is, by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice no matter the size of the building or denomination. Continue reading

Posted in Commentaries, devotionals and commentaries featuring technology, encouragement in hard times, most recent posts, spiritual survival | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment