Monthly Archives: November 2010
This past week has been relaxing and stress-free. There was even joy in preparing the tantalizing feast that my family enjoyed for Thanksgiving. No temper flare-ups, no major arguments, and no sibling squabbles to report. I’m almost surprised myself, but with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
I’m excited about what lies ahead in the future. God is more than able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think, so I’m going to trust Him to keep things in order. It truly makes a difference to allow His Word to be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. This indeed has been our best Thanksgiving ever!
What memories do you have of your “best” holiday? Has there been a time when God surprised you and did something out of the ordinary? I’d love to hear about it.
One of the other traditions associated with Thanksgiving is watching the game – or games, as it may be. John 15:16 reminds us that God created us to be a part of His team, and were a part of His game plan from the beginning. “You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name.”
We are reminded again in Jeremiah 1:5 that God knew us before we were in our mother’s womb. (Though the passage refers specifically to Jeremiah, because God is no respecter of persons, it applies to us, too!)
In a society that places such high monetary value on being selected to play for a particular team, isn’t it refreshing to know that we are worth more than any fathomable dollar amount to our Creator? Even after you’ve played your best games and aren’t feeling very valuable anymore, isn’t it a comfort to know that your Coach will not leave you nor forsake you? Have you accepted your assignment on His team yet?
Joshua 6:22-25 AMP
22But Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, Go into the harlot’s house and bring out the woman and all she has, as you swore to her.
24And they burned the city with fire and all that was in it; only the silver, the gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.
25So Joshua saved Rahab the harlot, with her father’s household and all that she had; and she lives in Israel even to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Would you agree that Rahab was a woman with a “reputation”? Isn’t it refreshing to know that regardless of her past (or her past occupation), God still chose her for greatness. What greatness? Rahab went on to become the great, great-grandmother of King David, the one who is said to have been the king after God’s own heart, and direct lineage to Jesus the Christ.
Matthew 1:5-6 AMP
6Jesse the father of King David, King David the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah
God can restore any life that is submitted to His will. Rahab recognized the move of God and didn’t fight against it, but made a decision that impacted her family’s lineage and inheritance. Never doubt that a once damaged reputation can be used by God, for God, to give God glory.
Juggling the schedules and personalities of five children (and one husband) can become quite the rollercoaster ride. The after-school activities, weekend events, school presentations to be completed, household chores to be done and overall daily tasks would have the average person wondering if they were bipolar. Not wanting to “lose my cool” more than I already do, I am beginning to recognize “triggers” that escalate a situation that could be handled quite differently.
My triggers are usually:
- Hunger (In taking care of everyone else, I have to remember to stop and eat to be able to do all the problem-solving.)
- Anger (Only certain people have access to my “buttons”, but when they get pushed – like the Hulk said “you won’t like me when I’m angry”.
- Tired (Sleepy applies here, too; I’ve often reminded my fam that I am only one person, with two arms and can only do SOOO much.)
- Financial Difficulties (While I would love to meet every need, it is prudent to take care of priorities first. Getting a nine-year old (or eighteen year old) to understand the difference between needs, wants and desires proves to be a dynamic, if not comedic, dialogue.)
Do you have any “triggers” not listed here? I’d love to hear your stories. I’m learning to appreciate the wisdom God shared with us in honoring the sabbath. We all need a day of rest.
Grief can stem from a variety of situations – from separation and divorce to a traumatic injury or illness to the death of a loved one. The most difficult loss to deal with is probably the death of a child or spouse. This can bring your life to a screeching halt. Everyone comes to term with death differently, and there are no right or wrong answers, but having an understanding support person/group definitely helps. My prayer is that person provides godly counsel during the time of loss.
I want to caution against what has become a popular way of responding to grief in many cultures - by symbolizing the loved one with new ink (a tattoo). The Bible is very specific when it comes to this: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead nor print or tattoo any marks upon you; I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28). In dealing with grief, we should be ever so careful not to violate God‘s laws which are there for our protection. Loss is a part of life, but the emptiness cannot be resolved by creating more voids.
Whether we are the ones grieving or the ones consoling the grieving, allow God to wipe every tear, mend every broken heart, take away every burden, and fill every void – emotional, physical or otherwise, as we accept His will for our lives. God loves you and so do I.
Many have not seen the movie “Fireproof“, but it is recommended viewing for every married couple. After I saw the movie, which came out in 2008, I went and bought the book “The Love Dare” to eventually pass the 40-day challenge to my children in a handwritten journal. Here’s the trailer. It’s available on DVD.
It could be 20 other people in the room, but as soon as they hear mom or dad’s voice, they recognize who is talking. When a child recognizes who is talking, they seek them because they have now sensed their presence in the room. Likewise, Jesus teaches that we will be able to hear, recognize and distinguish His voice, even among the cries, whines and conflicts in the world around us (Exodus 15:26; John 5:25).
Have you ever noticed a child who pretends not to hear their parents voice so they won’t have to obey? They focus on what they want, ignoring anything that goes against their will. Sometimes, we as believers act like that, seeking our own will instead of submitting to God. “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). When we fail to discern God’s direction, we run into obstacles missing our way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). We also fail to recognize an opportunity to develop the fruit of the Spirit. This is what God expects IF we are connected to Him, the True Vine (John 15:1-5). In the society we live in, people want things NOW. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (I Samuel 15:23a). Our impatience, stubbornness and/or rebellion can cause us to listen to the wrong voice and consequently make the wrong decision.
What voices are being amplified around you? Which channels do you need to push mute on so that you can hear His voice without distraction? When He speaks, will you hear? When you hear, will you obey?
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It has often been said that those who cry the hardest during the funeral service are the ones who didn’t value that relationship while the person was alive. While I’m in no position to say whether this is true or not, I have known relatives to be distant (emotionally, not geographically) only to be alarmed at their loved one’s ”sudden” passing.
As this year draws to a close, let’s take a personal inventory of our relationships. Are there some people that we have intentionally avoided? If so, why? Is there a person that you’ve been meaning to call, write or visit, but you just haven’t made the time? Now is the time to clear the air, forgive where necessary and extend forgiveness where applicable. When that appointment comes that no one can avoid, my prayer is that there is no animosity or unresolved issues to make grief an unbearable burden.
Psalm 55:22 AMP ”Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail)”.
Holidays should be a joyous occasion that everyone looks forward to. Unfortunately, the holidays can lead to stress, sibling squabbles, parental pressure, marital mayhem or just too much tension. It is not uncommon to feel like you “have to do” what the other person expects in order to decrease problems. We don’t intend for the holidays to turn into a nightmare, but things start to spiral out of control. How can you choose to do what you enjoy without things getting out of control? How can we keep the peace and prevent things from falling to pieces? We cannot change others, but we can change our outlook and how we respond.
When I think of holidays, I think of mama in the kitchen making a delicious meal. I remember hearing about others’ “Big Mama” singing songs or humming hymns as they worked hard to make a hearty meal for their family. It is with those visions in mind that I embrace Colossians 3:23-24 which says ” Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”(NLT)
Can you think back on a time when the holidays created a happy memory for you? What was different then? Even if you were a child, how did your parent(s) make it memorable and enjoyable? Give yourself a break. Don’t expect everything to be perfect. Don’t even worry about resolving underlying family issues. Focus on creating loving memories. The thought of problems will eventually fade. Although the effort may not be appreciated to the degree that we would like, God is pleased when we show love and meet the needs of others. Let’s seek to glorify Him in all that we say and do this holiday season.
- Sibling Stress: Welcome to the Holidays (psychologytoday.com)