4.25.2017

A heart of anger can be HEALED!

THIS BOOK!

An excellent resource for all parents, and a worthy read for anyone who struggles with the sin of bitterness, anger, stubbornness, or rebellion.
The root of anger is a seed that is usually planted when we are hurt or wounded and when left unchecked and unresolved it grows quickly into bitterness, which we know is a sin that must be destroyed.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31, 32

I read this a decade ago and found it timely and helpful then, and the lovely woman who is discipling me assigned me to read it again this month. I read the entire book in one day, highlighted everything that jumped out at me, and sent her my responses in four separate e-mails.
Not only do I see my children in the words running across the pages - I see myself. And the image is not attractive.
Praise the Lord for being a God of forgiveness, mercy, and second chances, for I need them all. Every day!

I am including many of the quotes that challenged/convicted me with the hope that someone else who struggles with an angry child or an angry heart (or both) will be encouraged that a) you are not alone and b) there is HOPE - for healing, and for PEACE. In your home, and in your heart.

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- God will not ask you as a Christian to follow any biblical mandate without providing the grace and ability to carry it out.

- Identify how you may be sinning against your child so you can remove the beam from your own eyes before attempting to remove the splinters from theirs.

- Because the Bible addresses all aspects of communication, the Christian should make it his goal to become proficient in all three areas. Words - non-verbal communication - tone of voice.

- When a man is angry (or experiencing other intense emotions), he is at greater risk of sinning with his words.
Great verses to fight this!
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer." Proverbs 15:28
"The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips." Proverbs 16:23

- The effect of tone of voice is so great that some experts believe it to be up to seven times more powerful in certain situations than the words themselves.

- Changing facial expressions is probably the most difficult aspect of communication to correct.
Verse to inspire the change: "A man's wisdom makes his face to shine and the harshness of his countenance to be changed." Ecclesiastes 8:1

- What is the first rule for disciplining children? You must have more discipline than the child.

- The Gumnazo Principle: Correcting wrong behavior by practicing right behavior, with the right attitude, for the right reason, until the right behavior becomes habitual.

- Confessing one's sin to an offended brother is not simply an option for a Christian, it is a command that you must follow if restoration is to occur.

- Asking for forgiveness is not the same thing as saying, "I'm sorry." Saying "I'm sorry" doesn't accomplish the biblical goal of putting past offenses aside. Nor does it lay the foundation to reestablish a broken trust as effectively as does asking forgiveness.

- When someone forgives, they are committing not to hold it against the person, talk about it with others, or dwell on it themselves.
A Christian is commanded by God to forgive a penitent offender. The offending Christian has the responsibility to earn back the trust that has been lost as a result of his sin. Granting someone forgiveness is not the same thing as declaring someone trustworthy."

- Just as your children must practice biblical communication principles to become proficient in their usage, so you, as a parent, must practice biblical discipline to become a proficient and skillful instructor.

- The only divinely-approved diagnostic manual whereby Christians may accurately judge thoughts and motives is Scripture. Christian parent, you must learn not only how to draw the thoughts and motives out of your child, but also how to diagnose those thoughts and motives; "not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." I Cor 2:13

- The ability to discern thoughts and motives when experiencing intense emotion is an essential skill for the Christian who intends to pursue holiness. Recognizing thoughts and imaginations of the heart is a prerequisite of bringing them "captive to the obedience of Christ."

- The best evidence that a Christian desires (loves) something more than he desires (loves) God, is his willingness to sin against God, either in order to acquire that desire or because he cannot acquire it.
One of the most common sins that demonstrates the presence of inordinate desire is anger.

- Christ never answered a fool with a foolish response. He never fought folly with folly. In communicating with fools, He never employed communication forms that violated Scripture. Although He did respond to foolishness, He did not respond in kind. In other words, He did not allow the fool with whom He was talking to drag Him down to His level by playing the same sinful communication games as His opponent.
What He did do when responding to foolish verbiage was to show the fool his own foolishness.
"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Proverbs 26:4

RESPONDING biblically to sin in others
➵ Examine your motives.
Your motives for responding to your child's manipulation should be righteous.
➵ Examine your life.
You should examine your own life for any sinful words, actions, and attitudes (especially manifestations of the same basic tendencies of disrespect and manipulation).
➵ Maintain a spirit of gentleness.
It is possible for righteous anger and sinful anger to reside in your heart at the same time. Before you open your mouth to reprove your manipulating child, you had better be sure that any anger you may feel in your heart is due to his sin against God rather than his sin against you. And, if you are certain you can speak out of such righteous anger, you had better take heed that such anger does not express itself in sinful forms of communication.
Such as harshness, sarcasm, raising your voice, criticism etc.
➵ Choose the right words.
You must speak the truth in love.
You must select words that communicate grace and that will meet the needs of your child, for the purpose of edifying him.
As a parent, you must "let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6

4.24.2017

It's FOREVER. So I need to KNOW it!


I bought pink tulips today. One of my favorite flowers.
Every time I receive or purchase fresh flowers I place them near my Bible. I'm not sure why - it just seems like they belong there. Perhaps it is the contrast between the temporary and the eternal that affects me so deeply. As Scripture says, "The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever." Isaiah 40:8
Maybe the Lord needs me to have a visual of this profound truth continually before my eyes because I would not remember it on my own.

What I do know is that He has put an intense desire on my heart to memorize Psalm 119.
I love this Psalm. It is practical, applicable, and encouraging. I draw from it often, and when I was reading it today I was overwhelmed with a desire to KNOW it.
Not just the verses that refresh my heart, but the verses that address my sin and remind me that I am accountable to a holy God for my thoughts, words, and actions. 
"I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

I pulled these specific verses from the chapter because they speak of ACTION.
They speak of things I want in my spiritual life.
They speak of who I want to be as a believer - and - as a child of God.

Thank You, Lord, for the precious beauty of Your Word. Make me desire it more ... so much so that I cannot lay my head on my pillow at night until I have spent focused, intentional time turning its pages. I don't know enough, I don't understand enough, and I don't obey enough. Open my eyes, Lord! Incline and enlarge my heart to Your law. Give me understanding, keep my steps sure, let Your law help me, and make my heart blameless. I love You and I need You, Lord, and I can find You here ... in the pages of Your Word. Teach me how to hide it in my heart - and even more - to live it, faithfully, day by day.

Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of Your law.

I will run in the way of Your commandments
when You enlarge my heart!

Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!

Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments.

May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

Keep steady my steps according to Your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.

Psalm 119

4.23.2017

Quote. We have an excellent Shepherd!

"He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters." Psalm 23:2

"He makes me lie down in green pastures." That is, He supplies the needs of our souls.
He . . .
gives us the food of the Word of God,
strengthens us with His grace, and
makes us to find our rest in Him.

"He leads me beside the still waters." 
That is, He . . .
refreshes us when we are weary,
revives our hearts by His promises,
cheers us by His presence,
gives us His Holy Spirit, and
enables us to rejoice in His salvation.

Amidst all our trials and troubles - He comforts us and gives us fresh hope.

Some may say, "Why should I have trouble at all? Why does the good Shepherd send me anything besides comfort and pleasure? Why am I poor or sad or sick?"

The sheep do not choose their own pasture - the shepherd chooses for them. In the same way, the disciple does not choose his own lot in life - it is appointed for him. His Shepherd knows best what is good for him. The best is not always what is the most pleasant at the moment - but what is most profitable in the end.

Our Shepherd sometimes leads us through what seem to us dry and stony places - but they lead to the Heavenly pastures! And even along the way, He feeds us and comforts us with all a shepherd's care. Never is our Shepherd nearer to us, than when we are in need or danger.

"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish - ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:27-28

- Francis Bourdillon, "Bedside Readings" 1864

4.14.2017

Do you BELIEVE?


White as snow, white as snow
Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord, I know, Lord, I know
That I'm clean and forgiven
Through the power of Your blood
Through the wonder of Your love
Through faith in You
I know that I can be
White as snow

These roses are from our garden.
Every time I walk into our front yard, dozens of beautiful flowers remind me of God's creation and design.
The past few days I have been particularly drawn to the contrast between the scarlet red roses and the bright, white roses, but it wasn't until yesterday that the Lord made me understand why.
The colors represent the contrast between sin and righteousness. 

There is only one way to be freed from the guilt and condemnation of sin and made righteous before a holy God.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool. 
Isaiah 1:18

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
. Romans 5:8

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

My prayer is that we as believers will boldly proclaim with John the Baptist, not only this Easter weekend but every day, so that others may know come to know Jesus as their personal Savior ...
"BEHOLD! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

4.12.2017

Powerful quote. On PRAYER.

Jesus went more willingly to the cross 
than we do to the throne of grace.
- Thomas Watson


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:16, 17

Continue earnestly in prayer
being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

4.10.2017

Quote. Contentment and rest.

"Return unto your rest, O my soul - for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." Psalm 116:7

To rest in God, is  . . .
  to be satisfied with Him as our portion,
  to take Him for our supreme good, and
 to feel that we have enough and abound while possessing Him - though everything else is taken  away. 

"Give me," says the believer, "the enjoyment of my God - and I desire no more. Allow me to feast on heavenly truth - and I shall never complain that I am poor. Let worldlings divide the globe among themselves - let ants contend for this little heap of dust; I have God - and I ask no more. Come wars and pestilence, come poverty and death - you cannot rob me of my portion." 

Must it not be substantial rest . . .
  to have the infinite God for a portion,
  to have all the restless desires of the mind composed,
  to feel no anxious apprehension for the future,
 to know that if everything which time or death can destroy, were removed - the whole of one's      portion would remain; 
  to feel that nothing can injure, nothing impoverish, nothing perplex or disturb? 

Ah, give me this portion - instead of thrones and kingdoms!

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:25-26

- Edward Griffin, 1770-1837

4.06.2017

They bless me.


Tuesday night my couch was covered with five of our Orphan Care moms, and we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship.

I invited them to my home to provide a quiet, safe, intimate place for them to share their hearts. The sorrows and the joys, the trials and the successes of the world they live in. Because it IS a different world. And few understand it. What they do is not easy, and the burdens are great, so I wanted to remind them that they do not have to do this alone. We have a community for them in our church body ... those who are living life just as they are, and people who want to support them in as many tangible and encouraging ways as possible. We need each other - and we want each other. Sometimes, we just need to a time and place to come together to make it seem real.
And it was very real on Tuesday.

These women amaze me.
They are brave.
Compassionate.
Tender-hearted.
Long-suffering.
Courageous.
Strong.
Patient.
Sacrificial.
Defenders.
Truth seekers.
Servants.

It is no wonder the Lord created them with such characteristics considering what is required of them as foster parents. Until you have walked where they walk, or intently listen to what they experience and endure on a weekly basis, you would never guess the challenges they face. They spend a lot of time fighting for the children in their care - social workers, doctors, court systems, birth parents, school districts, counselors, and therapists ... each of them with different demands, different perspectives, and personal biases. 

When I listen to them talk, I feel like an intruder, having never been a foster parent or adopted a child to save his life. I cannot give them advice, contacts, wisdom, or experience, yet they invite me in, they share their stories, they cry, they rejoice, they vent, and they let me love them.

There is very little I have to offer them in the fost/adopt world, but there is one thing I can give them - myself! And I do so willingly. I don't think I could refuse if I tried! One conversation with each woman, hearing her story, watching her eyes fill with tears as she describes how God called her to this, listening to the passion she has for orphans and endangered children ... I am drawn in, captivated, and committed. 

Many of these women were strangers before I joined the Orphan Care ministry, but now - they are my sisters, and my friends. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure with these women, and when I think of them I am reminded of the beautiful words of Paul in Ephesians 1:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Thank You, Lord, for the hearts of women who faithfully and tirelessly seek out and serve children who need love, protection, and Jesus. Your calling on their lives is not vague, but crystal clear, and every time they hug a child, feed a child, change a diaper, fight in court, protect them, and pray by the bedside - they are serving You. These women have a heart for broken, lonely children ... and the children crave the love they so willingly offer. Thank You for drawing them together "for such a time as this" because Your timing is perfect, and no matter how overwhelmed they may feel on the most trying of days, YOU ARE THERE. You never leave them, You never forsake them. What a precious gift such a promise is to Your daughters, Lord! And, oh, how much they need You! Thank You for being a God who never fails us and offers new mercies every morning, for we need them - every hour.

4.05.2017

Quote. God KNOWS us - and loves us still!

"All of you shall desert Me!" Mark 14:27

We see in these verses, how well our Lord foreknew the weakness and infirmity of His disciples. 
He tells them plainly what they were going to do: "All of you shall desert Me." He tells Peter in particular of the astounding sin which he was about to commit, "This night, before the rooster crows twice - you shall deny Me three times."

Yet our Lord's fore-knowledge did not prevent His choosing these twelve disciples to be His apostles. He allowed them to be His intimate friends and companions, knowing perfectly well what they would one day do. With a clear foresight of the melancholy weakness and lack of faith which they would exhibit at the end of His ministry - He granted them the mighty privilege of being continually with Him and hearing His voice. This is a remarkable fact, and deserves to be had in continual remembrance.

Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections. He knows what they are. He takes them, as the husband takes the wife - with all their blemishes and defects; and once joined to Him by faith, He will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High-priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.

He knew what they were before conversion - wicked, guilty, and defiled; yet He loved them.
He knows what they will be after conversion - weak, erring, and frail; yet He loves them.


He has undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings - and what He has undertaken, He will perform.

Let us learn to pass a charitable judgment on the conduct of professing believers. Let us not set them down in a low place, and say they have no grace - because we see much weakness and corruption in them. Let us remember that our Master in Heaven bears with their infirmities - and let us try to bear with them too.

The Church is little better than a great hospital. We ourselves are all, more or less, weak and infirm - and daily need the skillful treatment of the heavenly Physician. There will be no complete cures until the resurrection day!

- J. C. Ryle

4.02.2017

True contentment.


This book.
Wow.

My favorite quotes from the first section of reading.

“It (contentment) is a sweet temper of spirit, 
whereby a Christian carries himself in an equal poise in every condition.”

“Contentment is a DIVINE thing.
Contentment is joined with godliness. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6
To live securely and cheerfully upon God in the abatement of creature supplies, 
only piety can bring this into the soul’s treasury.”

“Contentment is an INTERNAL thing.
It lies within a man; not in the bark - but the root. 
Contentment has both its fountain and stream in the soul.
… contentment lies within the soul, and does not depend upon externals.
… outward troubles cannot hinder this blessed contentment.
When there is tempest without, there may be music within.”

“Contentment is a HABITUAL thing.
It shines with a fixed light in the soul.
… it is a settled temper of the heart.
He is said to be a contented man, who is given to contentment.
It is not casual but constant.”