Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3 Powerful Truths About Unleashing Your Feelings

What a powerful reminder by one of my favorite bloggers, Mr. Matthew Jacobson, that we are the masters of our emotions and feelings in Christ Jesus, not slaves to them.  Hope you are as challenged as I was!

  3 Powerful Truths About Unleashing Your Feelings 

You might say I’m gifted with the ill-timed comment. I’ve thought a lot about this and I don’t think it’s really my fault.

Like when Barbara came from out of state to visit Lisa. I was trying to do something nice for them, I really was. They were having tea on the couch in the family room, open to the kitchen. It was a “good husband” moment. I wanted them to be able to talk, uninterrupted, so the kids were in the backyard and I quietly listened while washing the dishes. That’s nice, isn’t it?

But, no sooner did I start scrubbing with this new-fangled scrubber that releases the soap as you wash and I got frustrated.

Peek behind the curtain: I hate (I know, Christians aren’t supposed to hate but, I do) I hate things that don’t work – especially if they’re new. I’m convinced there’s a special place in the netherworld for people who make and sell junk.

Anyway, after about three futile attempts at cleaning a pan, I said . . . loudly . . . Where did this worthless piece of junk come from?

Both ladies looked up. “What worthless piece of junk, honey?” Lisa asked with that cringing tone that says, I hope he doesn’t say what I think he’s going to say.

“This stupid thing,” I said, holding up the offending article as absolute proof that the world is falling apart.
“Oh, the new scrubber,” she said, “That is a gift, from Barbara.”


Okay, I’m not quite as guiltless as I first claimed. No one forced me to get all worked up and, I didn’t have to say anything derogatory.  But, I felt strongly about that scrubber and the villains who made it.

Ever felt strongly about something you were discussing with your spouse? When he/she had a different perspective than you? When no one’s giving in? How did that go?

One of the hardest things to believe about our own feelings is that we are completely in charge of them. More typically, we act as if they arrive on the scene as some separate, irresistible force that must be unleashed on the situation.

This is never true. Remember the last time you got fired-up? You expressed your frustration because . . . you expressed your frustration. We made a choice. We are in charge of our emotions. The Devil didn’t make you do it. Your spouse didn’t, either. You chose. I chose. We all choose.
Our feelings aren’t legitimate just because we have them. Do we want to be biblical Christians, walking in the Spirit? Then our feelings will have to submit to something before they do more damage: the Truth.
This is true even when we’re completely right (it was a piece of junk, okay!). God allows for legitimate anger. Ephesians 4:26 says . . . be angry but don’t sin. Even then, when we’re legitimately angry, the Bible teaches us to remain in control of our feelings.

A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

Interesting, isn’t it? You can be right and still be a fool by unleashing your feelings on the moment.
God calls us to walk in the Spirit and in Truth. To do so, we need to take proper charge of our feelings and the responses that accompany them. What is the truth about emotions?

1)   When it comes to responding to circumstances or disagreements, you are not a victim. You are in charge. Feelings and responses are a choice.

2)   Feelings might be legitimate . . . but they might also be illegitimate. Truth decides, not the power of the emotions of the moment.

3)   Anger may be justified but don’t give “vent” to it. Be wise, restraining your anger.

Do we do this in our own strength? No, Galatians 5:16 says if you walk in the Spirit you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.  

How do we walk in the Spirit?

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Angry? Frustrated? It’s your move.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cultivating Gratefulness

printable gratitude journal

I, Karen, have been very blessed by Stacie Nelson's ebook that she wrote on cultivating gratefulness in our children.  Thought that, perhaps, someone else might be blessed by it as well.  Here is the link:
Information about the ebook is at the bottom of the page

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Gospel According To You


There’s a sweet old story translated for me,
But writ in the long, long ago-
The Gospel according to Mark, Luke, and John-
Of Christ and His mission below.
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By deed that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true,
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Men read and admire the gospel of Christ,
With its love so unfailing and true;
But what do they say, and what do they think
Of the gospel according to you?
‘Tis a wonderful story, the gospel of love,
As it shines in the Christ-life divine,
And oh, that its truth might be told again
In the story of your life and mine!
Unselfish mirrors in every scene,
Love blossoms on every sod,
And back from its vision the heart comes to tell
The wonderful goodness of God.
You are writing each day a letter to men;
Take care that the writing is true.
‘ Tis the only gospel some men will read,
That gospel according to you.

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Ways Are Not Your Ways

I was reminded of this song while talking with a dear friend tonight.  A precious elder of ours shared this several years ago with us and it has since been a family favorite. 

::My Ways Are Not Your Ways::
1) Oft the way to the goal seems so weary and long,
Trials almost take away my song;
Then we sigh and we cry and we ask,
‘Father why does this life my wishes all deny?’

My ways, my child, are not your ways,
My thoughts are higher than thine.
Let me lead you each step of this long weary day,
Let me clasp thy trembling hand in mine.
2) It is my hearts desire to do His blessed will,
And to serve my Master every day;
But when things all go wrong and the world doubts me still,
Then, oh Lord, I can-not understand.
3) So I’ll leave all to  Him, He has promised to share
All my load and ev’ry care to bear.
There is joy in my heart and on my lips a song,
Even tho’, Lord, I don’t understand.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big Problems and An Almighty God

I was so encouraged this morning when I read Matthew Jacobson's post.  I could so relate to what he wrote.  Life is not always just smooth going.  Right now, we Alexander's are feeling that way.  And yet . . .  is not our God bigger than any of our problems???

Here is the link over to the post by Matthew that was such a blessing to me and really helped me to have a right focus for today .
Matthrew Jacobson Post Big Problems And An Almighty God
I hope you will be encouraged and blessed as well.  ~Karen

Tony Konvalin posted this quote on his blog at What They Said that I thought went so nicely with Matthew's post.

"A Christian, for the sweet fruit he bears to God and men, is compared to the noblest of all plants, the vine.  Now as the most generous vine, if not pruned, runs out into many superfluous stems and grows at last weak and fruitless: so doth the best man, if he be not cut short of his desires and pruned with afflictions."
Joseph Hall

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A future wife's meditions

Young Men:

They are:

Strong-Pro_20:29  The glory of young men is their strength:
Sober minded-Tit_2:6  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 
Overcoming evil- I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.
Strong,Word abides in them, overcoming evil-I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 

They are to:

Cleanse their way by heading the Word- Psa_119:9  BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 
Seek wisdom and instruction because it will give him knowledge and discretion- Pro_1:4  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
Put away evil and the things of childhood and youth that are vanity and bring destruction- (Ecc 11:9-10) Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. 

Passages with lists of what godly men should be:

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 
(Tit 1:6-9)

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 
(1Ti 3:1-13)

Pray for my future husband to be:

-overcoming evil and the evil one
-abiding in the Word and the Word abiding in him
 -cleansing evil from his life 
-avoiding evil by seeking the Word and obeying it 
-giving heed to instruction and seeking wisdom
-seeking wisdom to have knowledge and discretion
-putting away the foolish things of  childhood and youth that bring destruction
-preparing to be a good and faithful husband to me
-preparing to be faithful in raising faithful and godly children
-not self-willed, but submissive and honoring to authority
-not soon angry, but slow speak and slow to anger and patient
-wise and controlled in his speech
-a lover of hospitality
-loving godly company and loving the brethren
-holding fast to the Word and sound in it
-upright in conduct, character and behavior, having a good reputation
-content, not covetous
-truthful and honest
-faithful in all things
-boldness in Christ and His ways
-able to instruct, lead and guide his family in the ways of righteousness and godliness
-kept as the apple of the Lord's eye and covered under His wings
-upheld in the arms of the Lord as God fulfills His purposes concerning him

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Meditation of Comfort

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”
- Isa_49:16
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?” O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?

Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening Devotions November 7

Monday, November 4, 2013

Another encouraging post by Matthew Jacobson on marriage

The Lifelong Habit of Pursuing Friendship

+Date night . . . there’s a place not far from our house, Diego’s ~ Spirited Kitchen, that Lisa and I find our way to on a semi-regular basis for a few moments away. We don’t often order much, maybe a little avocado salsa fresca, but we just love to spend time together.
It was a busy night at Diego’s a few weeks back. We couldn’t help noticing the couple – mid-sixties, maybe – who sat the entire evening, stone-faced, across from each other. Not a word passed between them – Date night. Hope they enjoyed the food – really sad. I don’t know their story but that didn’t keep me from wanting to take the guy by the lapels and say, Can’t you see the vacant longing in your wife’s eyes? She’s begging to be loved by you!”
What was Lisa doing? I noticed something in her face as she discreetly looked their way – something in her eyes evaluated, wondered, analyzed.
“Do you think we’ll wind up like that twenty years down the road?” She said unexpectedly.
Now, she knew the answer. I know she did . . . but somehow she wanted the assurance of hearing me say it.
“Of course not – we’re going to be friends forever.”
But, didn’t the older couple start out with the same desire? Doesn’t everyone begin marriage with an expectation of friendship and closeness for the long-haul?
Then “Life” happens and The Book of Love sits neglected, collecting dust on some hidden shelf.
God designed us for so much more than that – for depth, for richness, for a highly fulfilling marriage, but it won’t happen automatically. To experience a marriage like that, we’ve got to do things God’s way and cultivate a lifestyle that places a priority on those things that will lead toward the relationship we so desire.
Let’s keep it real – it is impossible to have a fulfilling friendship with your spouse if there is no willingness on his/her part to do so. But, one thing is certain – If you don’t pursue the habit of friendship in your marriage, it will never happen. Even if your spouse is a little resistant due to the path you have walked, God can do miracles in a marriage where His ways are embraced and you choose to walk obediently.
So where do you start in pursuing friendship with your spouse?
When it comes to having a friendship, God says you need to initiate the process.  Proverbs 18:24 – if you’re going to have friends, you must be friendly (MLJV).
This verse is never more true than in the relationship between husband and wife. To experience friendship with your spouse, it’s got to start somewhere.  Initiate friendship by doing and saying those things that demonstrate your purpose to be your spouse’s good friend.
Here are 7 suggestions toward pursuing friendship with your spouse. Husband or Wife, these all apply equally to each:
1)    Dinner, coffee, a stroll through the park . . . pick a moment to tell her you want to      become her best friend and ask her, “How can I become a better friend to you?”
2)   What is she interested in? Ask her questions about those things.
3)   It’s Monday morning. Do you have priorities for the week? Discuss them with her and ask her what are her goals and priorities for the week.
4)   Pick a day (every week!) and do something for her that you know she’ll love.
5)   Tell her something about her personality, way of thinking, abilities, or contribution that you particularly love and appreciate.
6)   Build her up with your words in public. Do you like it when someone directly contradicts you in company? She/He doesn’t like it, either. It’s demeaning and disrespectful.
7)   Listen with genuine interest when she talks. Be interested in her opinions and perspective.
For most spouses, friendship with each other is like a ripe apple, just waiting to be picked and enjoyed. If you truly want friendship then initiate by doing the things with and for your spouse that demonstrate what a solid-gold friend you are. Pursue the habit of friendship and enjoy that highly fulfilling, rich marriage you desire and that God desires for you both.

*This post is one of The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage series.