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Showing posts from 2013

God isn't furloughed

In this uncertain world, especially during this government shutdown, it is good to remember that God is not out of work.

I believe God is neither idle nor powerless.  He is always working for us through the good times and bad.

God isn't furloughed. He is always at work. He is faithful and steadfast. He will never abandon us. His love endures.

God is love. Love never fails.

As I go into a quiet office today where so many are furloughed, I'll pray for more to know that even during these tough times, God is love and is working through all things for the good for those who love him. God will do what he promises. When others, even governments, fail us, God will never fail to love us and be with us through whatever we must go through.

How do you tend barren places scorched with shame?

We all have places shame has scorched. Maybe we hide an abandoned patch behind a carefully manicured façade. Maybe shame is searing new territory in our lives.

Shame.

I could write a while on this, but I want you to read what a fellow blogger has to say in his recent post. He shares from his heart and his pain... and his peace. He tends his shame by inviting God in these places. He tends shame with God's help and finds peace:
May God inhabit our barren places that have been scorched with shame. May we find the refreshing joy of his forgiveness, acceptance, and restoration. May new life spring up once and for all. -- Ed Cyzewski God can be trusted with our shame. He tends our truth -- the joys and pain of it -- not with condemnation, but with love.

Read more
Why we need to take our shame to God by  Ed Cyzewski

Smalley's Secret Key to Lasting Love

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"Keep your anger level as low as possible," said Dr. Gary Smalley when he spoke on Sunday at Mclean Bible Church in Virginia. Smalley is a family counselor, president and founder of Smalley Relationship Center and author of numerous family relationship books.

"Be angry, but don't stay angry." He quoted Ephesians 4:26 and said it was okay to be angry, but he emphasized: "Don't stay there." Let it go. Don't keep thinking about and reliving the anger.

"If we stay angry," he warned, "we move into darkness and can't know the love of God."

He went on to explain some of the damage suppressed anger could do to us physically, emotionally, spiritually and to our relationships.

"You can't bury anger dead. You always bury it alive," he added.

Perspectives: Hope sees God at work

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In his easy-to-read book, Transformed by Tough Times, Steve Reed offers answers and hope for those who suffer.

That's just about everyone, isn't it?

Have you ever wondered: Why do we suffer? Where is God? Can any good come from this?

Reed explores these questions and many others in his book, Transformed by Tough Times. Reed shares from his own experiences and the lives of people we may know and some we don't -- C.S. Lewis, Joni, Jim Elliott, Job, and many others. Touches of humor and a very down-to-earth style help make this book readable. And stories. Lots of stories of real people and real problems.

This book is good company for those who travel along the suffering trail. It covers familiar ground and adds some new perspectives and insights on difficult questions and hard-to-get-through situations.

The author offers practical help and hope so tough times can be easier to bear.

As you may know if you've been reading this blog, my mother recently died. I found spendi…

Transformed by Tough Times by Steve Reed

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My mother recently died. Reading this book has been good company along the journey. It offers answers and hope for those who have, will and are going through tough times.
A book about tough times usually implies that the author has had some personal experiences that connect to that topic. Where did the book start for you? In college, I was a kicker and punter at Oklahoma State University under a demanding head coach, Jimmy Johnson. (Football fans might recognize him as the coach for two college national championships in the 80’s and a couple of Super Bowls in the 90’s for the Dallas Cowboys). Just playing for Coach Johnson was tough enough, but my sophomore year, I got my knee bent backwards in a Junior Varsity game in Lincoln, Nebraska. When surgery and rehab efforts didn’t get me back to playing football, I eventually had to hang up the cleats. Looking back now, that experience made me more aware of how other people dealt with adversity and caused me to pay more attention to how I c…

Have you ever felt like a zombie?

Some days I feel like a zombie Christian. In my mind the words echo: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Those words sound good in sermons and on the pages of the Bible. It doesn't feel so good when I wake up some mornings with a bad attack of zombie stirrings. I walk around, half alive in Christ, yearning to be like him and share his beautiful and loving disposition. And yet, I drag myself through the day as one possessed by death in all its seeping ugliness. That zombie stuff is hard to hide. If only it would go away and stay quiet. Forever.
Then I remember: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
So I pray and take a step. And I take another step.
And when faith falters, I wonder: How can God stand all the zombie Christians? We walk around only partly fashioned into gleaming new people with new spirits and new ways of interacting with each other. And part of us oozes.
What a picture we mus…

Book Nook News: Spring Cleaning Your Emotions

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Spring Cleaning Your Emotions Eight things you need to quit to transform your life Quit being afraid of what others thinkQuit lyingQuit dying to the wrong thingsQuit denying anger, sadness and fearQuit blamingQuit over functioningQuit faulting thinkingQuit living someone else’s life
Zondervan Publishing January 1, 2013 ISBN: 9780310320012/224 pages/softcover/$14.99 www.Zondervan.comwww.EmotionallyHealthy.org Launching a new website: www.GeriScazzero.org Gerri Scazzero shares eight things you have to quit to be emotionally healthy. Based on her new book from Zondervan, author and popular conference speaker Geri Scazzero offers a radical message for Christian women today. “When we quit things that are damaging to our souls or to the souls of others, we are freed up to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life,” says Scazzero. “When we quit fear of what others think, we choose freedom. When we quit lies, we choose truth. When we quit blaming, we choose to…

Home by the Esh family (reprise)

This was a popular post. The music of the Esh family ministers to my heart still.

What's so good about Good Friday for Christians? Jesus opened death's doorway, so we could find the heart of God, our home.

Eight members of the Esh family went Home after dying in last month's crash on Interstate 65 in central Kentucky. Read their story.



The song with the lyrics:


Thank you, Shirley Brosius, for sharing the Esh family's story of faith. God gives beauty for ashes.

When I was growing up, home wasn't so much a single place since we moved around so much. Home was the feelings of joy I felt when I was with the people I loved. That was particularly true when our children were small. Now that the children have left home and extended family live far away, times when we can be together are brief.

In the life yet to be, home will be all it was meant to be. It will be beyond amazing.

Do you have a favorite memory of home?

Things left behind, things yet to come

I thought it would be easy to sort through the things my mother in law left behind. But some of these artifacts from her life have memories attached that make them hard for family members to untangle from the places she put them -- a comfy rocking chair where she sat, a favorite music box that chimes an old melody from her youth or her father's on the hour, every hour. A satiny red robe -- her favorite color of Christmas. A ludicrous Christmas stocking with a silly grin that hangs out all year on a closet door.

Many of Pat's things are Christmas- or company-related or family items of little retail value but important to her because of who once owned it or gave it to her. Pat loved family, people and parties. She loved having someone over, the more the merrier. She'd smile and offer something to eat or drink. The visitors have left, and so has Pat. Dishes, glasses, photos and holiday decorations remain. And memories.

No one knocks on the door today. They don't come to v…

Speaking a truth that heals

I was surprised to hear Sheila Walsh, well-known Christian singer, speaker and writer, talk about her struggles with depression on a Focus on the Family broadcast some time ago.

I didn't know she struggled with this.

She admitted it hurt her pride to choose to take medication for a chronic mental health condition some people would not understand. Part of her motivation to continue taking it was the look in her son's eyes one day. She wanted to be a good mother, not a crazy mother. She was convinced the medication helped her to be a better mother.

She likened treating chronic clinical depression with medication to Christians wearing glasses or taking insulin.Would we condemn these corrective measures and say these people needed more faith? Some might.

What of our Christian leaders? They're held to a higher standard.

Sheila is in Christian ministry. A very public, used-of-God place. She called it a good place to "hide" in her shame for a long time. She could talk t…

Silence is golden?

In case you're wondering, I haven't posted here much in the last few years.

When I was little, my mother would correct my sassy mouth and bad attitudes with the adage, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I'm a quiet person by nature and more so sometimes.

A lot has been going on. I'll fill you in on some of it, but in a way, I hope, that shares something useful to the reader.

There is much yet I'd like to share and I hope you'll comment so we can chat and learn from one another.

Silence is golden? Hmm, sometimes it feels like a pressure cooker or an ivory tower.

How about you? What is silence like for you? Please comment.

This is my shift

It's been raining in my heart for a long time. It still is. Trouble is, the protections I put up so securely to keep me from getting hurt have kept friends, family and others along the way from sharing my life, my inside life. I haven't given too many people a chance to really know what's going on with certian restricted areas of my heart and mind.

That has changed.

Life has a way of battering against our protections. This time, the storm has wiped out an entire shoreline of barrier walls. I'm not the only one dealing with the damage.

This storm is still shrieking and wailing around my family. And yet there is a calm within me as I live among my soul's broken places. There are windows where I had walls. There are gapping holes and much has been spilling out. I have been climbing out and mingling with other survivors.

In a hospital room, all kinds of pleasant and incredibly unpleasant topics can come up. At least they have in our family. Tears. Loud voices, angry l…