Wednesday, January 23, 2013

No Divorce

You were so in love when you got married. All you could see were blue skies and rainbows. The world was colored in sunshine and love. This person, this wonderful, kind, intelligent being had to be the perfect match for you. Marriage to this person would be absolutely blissful. You married Prince Charming and, within just a few short months, he had turned into a frog or a snake. What happened to that warm, fluttery feeling you used to have every time you looked at him? What happened to the rainbows you thought you had been promised?

The answer: Reality set in. Life is not a fairytale, no matter how much it seems like it at first.  Even if you lived together before you got married, that is NOT a guarantee that the marriage will last. I grew up in the 60's when "free love" was becoming the popular slogan. The prevailing philosophy became "if it feels good, do it." Hippies and Jesus Freaks were everywhere, two extreme counter cultures. Are we better off today because of their influence? I don't think so. We now have a majority of unwed mothers, single moms, pedophiles, and religious emotionalism.

What I'm trying to say is marriage is on the decline, single-parent families are prevalent, kids are angry because they don't have two parents in a healthy relationship, and more often than not these days, when people turn to church they go for entertainment and an emotional high instead of truth.

Here is truth: God intended marriage to be for a lifetime, until they are parted by death. Life comes with problems. Anytime you live with another person, there will be areas where you don't see things the same way. These are opportunities for discussion and growing closer together.  Don't let a disagreement turn into an argument. Don't let those differences tear your family apart. If you're growing apart, find things you both enjoy doing. Be willing to compromise or try something new. Ask God to heal those broken places in your marriage. He can and will if you let Him. Ask God to show you how you can change. Ask Him to make you the wife your husband needs you to be. Even if you think you married the wrong man, God can turn it around and make it right. You may be angry and not want to work this relationship out, but if your husband is not cheating on you or beating you, then be willing to put forth the effort to make it work. You and your children deserve happiness, but it comes from work and determination, not wishful thinking. Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9 both say, "What therefore God has joined together, let not man tear apart." God healed my marriage. He can heal yours, too. God bless.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Plant Seeds of Kindness

Kindness may be one of the hardest lessons to learn and to teach. Oh, it's easy to reach out to people and help them in times of crisis. Actions come so much easier than words. Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you." But if our actions don't match our words, the actions are in vain and will not be accepted as kindness, but rather as charity, or something to make you, the giver, feel good.

Kind deeds are easy but gossip is easier. Unkind words are easier. They flow from our lips like water, and once spoken, can never be taken back. They are like pieces of torn paper, the pieces so small they can never be glued back together. Gossip and unkind words are like those same tiny pieces of paper scattered by the wind, never to be brought together again.

Proverbs 18:6-8 says it very well: Pro 18:6  A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
Pro 18:7  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
Pro 18:8  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
               Notice verse 6 says that with our mouths we enter into arguments. Those arguments lead to anger and the anger can then lead to blows—fights.
               Verse 7 says our mouths lead to our destruction. Our words get us into trouble—they are the snares or traps of our souls. When we tell lies or embellish the truth (exaggerate), we have to remember what we said so we don't contradict ourselves later. We get caught in our own webs of lies. If you have trouble getting people to believe you, perhaps you should consider whether or not you are perceived as a perpetual liar.
               Verse 8 talks about the tale-barer, the gossiper, the one who delights in telling tales on others. Three of my Sunday school children are siblings and constantly telling on each other. My response is always the same: "I don't want to hear it." When a friend starts to tell me something about someone else my response is "I don't want to hear it." Gossip hurts. It destroys relationships, fosters distrust, and causes emotional wounds that may never heal. It destroys reputation, assassinates character. Whether or not the tale is true is beside the point. Everyone doesn't need to know everything negative about another person.
               Our response to someone else's sin should be as follows: Gal_6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
               Gossip is never right. I would a hundred times rather be whipped than to have someone talk about me behind my back. If you don't have the courage to talk to someone about an action on their part that has offended you, don't tell it to someone else. Be kind. Talk to that person in the spirit of friendship and love. Tell them you are hurt or angry, or that you don't understand why a particular thing was said or done. Try to work it out. Don't lose a friend over it. Don't make your own pain worse by spreading rumors, innuendo, half-truths, or your own bitterness. This type of cancer is contagious.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grievous Words Stir Up Strife

Pro_15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

I've heard people say that sometimes they just need a good argument. They justify it by saying it gives them a good reason to make up (among married couples). Well, my goodness, skip the argument and just do the act of making up!

Words. They are powerful. God used them to speak everything into existence, except the crown of His creation, mankind. Think about it. He spoke all of the animals into existence. He spoke the earth, seas, plant and vegetation into existence. He spoke the sun, moon, and stars into existence. But He used His strong, mighty, loving hands to create people. We are special to God.

God moved in the hearts of men to write His words to us: His love letter, the King James Bible (for English speaking people). Why? Because He loves us. He wants to have fellowship with us. For this reason, He also wants us to have fellowship with each other. But, just as our fellowship with Him is broken if we murmur and complain, or blame and criticize, so our relationship with other people is broken if we speak hurtful words in anger, or allow hate and bitterness to wound another.

Hosea 10:12-14b says, "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground (in your hearts, my note): for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled . . ."
               How do you want people to treat you? Do you want them to treat you the same way you treat them? How would you feel if your words to others were said back to you with the same tone of voice, attitude? You've heard it said, "You reap what you sow." This is especially true of words.

Job_4:8  Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Psa_126:5  They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. My note: when we weep over someone else's trials, illness, pain, or suffering, instead of retaliating in anger, the end result is joy. It may takes days, weeks, months or even years to see that result, but I can tell you from personal experience, the wait and the daily weeping and praying over the situation is worth the wait.

Ecc_11:4  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.  My note: Pay attention to the expression on the other person's face before you speak. If there are storm clouds in their eyes, it is NOT the right time to speak. Better to let them have their say, humbly reply that you understand (even if you don't), and walk away. The issue can then be discussed later when the "storm" has passed.

Hos_8:7  For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. Have any questions? E-mail me with "anger" or "blog" as the subject. I don't have all the answers but God does, and I have His Word to guide me. God bless.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Solution To The Gun Problem

Criminals will always be able to have guns or any other weapon of their choice. We are one of the leading countries of the world when it comes to gun trafficking. We feed our kids with a steady diet of violence in the movies, in video games, and most of the action movies are filled with blood, guts and gore. The audience clamors for it, claps and cheers. The bloodier the better. Our society can't seem to get enough. In the movies and video games the victim always comes back to life to fight another day. Our kids don't know fantasy from reality because it looks the same as real life. It's just that in real life the victim doesn't come back to life. And we wonder why there is so much violence. It isn't rocket science. Our minds are like computers: garbage in—garbage out.

Mat_12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Luk_6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The solution is to change what we think about. Change what we feed our minds with. Change what matters to us. Change our minds about what is good and what is evil. Change what we see as entertainment. But we are incapable of changing ourselves. We are, after all, frail human beings in need of a savior. There is only one Savior. His name is Jesus. He is the answer to the problem. When we put our trust in Him, He will always be there to help us, even if we lose our children, He will help us through the grief. People who belong to Christ don't commit mass murder. They don't go into schools with guns, or airports, or post offices, or government buildings. Terrorists belong to Satan. He is their master. He is the one they serve and no amount of law or law enforcement can change that. Without God, we all serve Satan by default; we just don't all do it so blatantly.
Give your heart to Jesus. Invite Him into your life and ask Him to be not just your Savior, but your Lord. Your life will not be trouble free, but it will be far more peaceful and you will have someone with you at all times, ready to help. He's only a breath away and He's waiting for you to open your heart's door.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Family Portrait

          Most of us say we hate to have our pictures taken (me included), but we enjoy looking through the family photos and reliving those memories. Some photos put a smile on our face, while others bring a sense of loss, heartache, grief, anger, or bitterness.
            We are, by nature, a selfish lot. We don't mean to be. Most of the time we don't even notice it. But our feelings are our primary focus. We see things from our own point of view, causing us to argue over little, inconsequential things. Those things can cause big rifts in a family. We need to ask ourselves: Is this a point worth losing a family relationship? What is the importance of this issue?
            Does your family album bring pain and sorrow, or joy and peace when you look at it?
If there is a rift in your family, can you be the peacemaker? Does it matter who was at fault? If you are a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ), does your attitude reflect the love of Christ?
            As we read scripture, we see a beautiful portrait of Christ painted in scenes from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis He is the slain lamb in Eden's garden, on Mount Moriah, and even vaguely seen on Joseph's coat (a kid's goat here). We see the blood dripping from the door posts and lintels as the mass Exodus of God's people occurs in Egypt's mourning, wailing land. Down through the Book of God we look at Him as a scape goat, a smitten Son and throne-less Sovereign.
            In Isaiah 53 Christ is seen as a tender plant, uncomely, despised, rejected, oppressed, silent and cut off. Zechariah gives us a picture of the wounds (not healed scars) that He got at His friends' house (the nation of Israel's religious leaders).
            Jesus suffered more than any other human being before or since, yet He forgave, never held a grudge, never refused to forgive. In fact, as He hung on the cross, He pleaded with His heavenly Father to forgive those who tormented, persecuted, and prosecuted Him. How can we then hold grudges and break our families apart over a harsh word spoken in anger? How can we throw our family ties away over a thoughtless word or action?
            What does your family portrait look like? Can you make it better? Scripture has the answers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Letting Go of Sin (copied from Baptist Bread)

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1

            Recently a little boy had his hand caught inside a jar. His parents tried every way they could think of to get his hand out of the jar. They tried liquid soap and water. They tried to pull his hand out of the jar. They tried greasing his arm, but all to no avail. Finally, they had to carefully  break the jar away from his hand only to find that the little boy had been clinging very tightly to a nickel.
            I know a lot of Christians who want to get out of all their problems, but they can't let go of the sin in their hands. They pray very vague prayers like, "God, if there's anything in my hand that shouldn't be there, I just want to confess it all right now." They never say, "Lord, I'm willing to let go of the nickel so that my hand can come out of the jar."
            "….and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:7b & 9)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jump In And Participate!

          During the first few years of my marriage I was very jealous of all the time my husband spent with his family, leaving me at home. I would rant and rage because I was left out, angry because he seemed to prefer his family over me. His parents would invite him out to play golf while I was left at home. I felt left out, a gangrenous appendage. I felt unwanted and unloved.
            Maybe this sounds petty and immature. It was. I had been a loner most of my life and was inept at relationships and joining in. I would rant and rage because he seemed to prefer his family over me. People had to walk on egg shells to keep from upsetting me.
            Perhaps they should have offered to include me, but why should they? I had given them no incentive to include me with my attitude. No one wants to be around a grouch. My in-laws put up with an awful lot of guff from me. What right had I to treat them the way I did? It wasn't their fault I wasn't a joiner. It wasn't their fault I had always been a misfit, a loner. It certainly wasn't their fault that I had a chip on each shoulder.
            A few days ago my mother-in-law was cleaning out her closet and she gave me a couple of skirts. The old me would have wondered if it wasn't a sneaky way of saying my clothes weren't good enough. However, I know better now. My mother-in-law has forgiven me for all of that stuff from many years ago. We have a great relationship now. I wore the skirt to church yesterday and we made a trip to see her before going back to church last night so I was still wearing the skirt. She was very pleased to see me wearing it. It's a pretty skirt and goes nicely with a shawl/scarf I received for Christmas.
            If you want to have good relationships, if you want to be included, be someone people want to be around. Romans 12:18 says, "If it be possible, as much as lieth within you, live peaceably with all men." Be a contagious personality. Be someone others want to be around. God bless.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who Are You Listening To?

            The world says "everyone's doing it." The advertisements say, "you have to have one of these. Everyone has one." The news media makes it seem as though everyone in the country from ten years old and up is doing drugs or drinking excessively. We are bombarded multiple times a day with messages about what to eat, what to wear, how to live, where to live, get the best buy. These don't even include the rumors you hear at work, the gossip, the innuendos.
            And then there's the church, you know, the worldwide church. The TV preachers with their plastic smiles and $1,000 suits who promise that if you put a smile on your face, speak to that checkbook and tell it to be filled, and send them money, you will be blessed. Or there are the ones that sound so sincere but all they ever talk about is God's love.
            Is there any truth to be found any more, anywhere? Who can you trust? Who can you believe? I have the answer. Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Keep reading.
            Genesis chapters 2 and 3 and describe the beginning of life after God finished creating everything. He made Adam and placed him in a beautiful garden where he could care for the animals and water God's garden. It was a rich, fertile land with all manner of fruit and vegetables just begging to be eaten. Adam saw that all of the animals had mates but he was alone. God then created Eve from one of Adam's ribs, a place close to his heart. Adam cherished his wife as we read his poem upon her being presented to him.
            God had told Adam he could eat of any tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We always want what is forbidden, don't we? But Satan came in and challenged God's word. He didn't go to Adam. He went to Eve because he knew that God had not specifically told Eve not to eat the fruit; He had told Adam. We read that Adam was there, with his wife, however, when Satan was tempting her. Adam didn't say a word. He listened and ate the forbidden fruit with his wife. God's judgment was swift; it came later that day and the couple was banished from the garden. Now Adam was no longer calling Eve his wife; she was "that woman you gave me," when he answered God. He blamed her for his sin.
            Satan still challenges God's Word today. He sets up false teachers, false prophets, preachers who only tell us what we want to hear. He fills our churches with entertainment instead of truth. He gives us bibles that have changed the truth of God into a lie. If you want the truth, read God's Authorized version of the Bible, the King James. Too hard to understand, you say? I recommend a good concordance: Vine's or Strong's. Also, get a good study Bible such as Life Application or Rainbow Study Bible. We must be careful not to get a wrong understanding of God's Word. I have a free downloadable program called e-sword. It has Strong's built in so you can immediately look up the meaning of a word. Happy studying and God bless.