Today we have all kinds of planners, apps, lists, and suggestions to help us get more organized and be more productive. So much in our culture points to the importance of getting more and more done. We have become a church of Martha’s when God wants us to first be Mary’s. That won’t happen without learning to order our own private worlds.
Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working dad or mom, a single parent, a businessman or woman, or a grandparent. Maybe you work from home. Maybe you commute. Maybe home and family are your work. Maybe you’re a blogger, a Bible teacher, a homeschooler, or in full-time ministry. Wherever you are in your life right now, you’re probably busy! Continue reading →
Emotions are real and part of being human. In fact, God created us as emotional beings. But problems result when we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions. When that happens, we can quickly end up in a ditch, spiritually and relationally.
Today we’re beginning a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” I hope you’ll be here over the next few weeks while we look at emotions, how they affect us, and how we can handle them God’s way.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.
Handling Emotions Biblically: Introduction
We just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access all the lessons here. Today we’re starting a new series on how to handle emotions so we don’t allow emotions to handle us.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing:
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering
They’re real. They’re often powerful. They’re, also, part of being human.
God Himself is described as having emotions.
The psalmist said, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7.11b) and another psalm says, He laughs at His enemies (Ps. 2.4).
Genesis 6.6 says, “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
Numerous times we’re told God is a jealous God (Ex. 20.5; Josh. 24.10).
But He, also, has compassion on His servants (Ps. 135.14; Jud. 2.18; Deut. 32.36).
And He rejoices over His people (Zeph. 3.17).
We know that Jesus wept (Jn. 11.35) over sin and it’s results on His creation.
Isaiah said he was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53.3).
And Mark 6:34 says He had compassion on the multitudes who listened to Him.
That doesn’t mean God’s emotions and ours are always the same. When God expresses emotions, they are perfectly just and righteous, never sinful. He never has a bad day and He never changes His feelings toward His redeemed.
Emotions like anger and fear often come with powerful feelings. Feelings that tend to control how we treat people, how we respond to the tests and trials of life, and whether or not we obey God.
While the feelings themselves are not always sinful, if they’re not dealt with in a biblical way, they can quickly become so.
While emotions are real and often powerful, they’re lousy leaders. When we allow our emotions to control our thoughts, words, and actions, we can end up in a ditch. Continue reading →
Last week we talked about angry children. But we can’t talk about angry children without asking ourselves if there are things we might be doing, intentionally or unintentionally, that provoke our children to anger.
Ephesians 6.4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
And Colossians 3.21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
While each of us, including our children, is responsible for his or her behavior, we can’t read those two verses without admitting we can make it easier for our children to become angry or exasperated.
Last week, we talked about the seed of hurt that can grow into anger, bitterness and, even, full-blown rebellion in our children. While the hurt can come as a result of wrong perceptions, assumptions or misunderstandings, it can also come as a result of sin on the part of one or more parents or step-parents.
Lou Priolo in his book, The Heart of Anger, lists 25 ways parents provoke their children to anger. Most of these apply to blended families, biological families, single parent families, even grandparents or others who are raising children. Here’s Lou’s list:
By a lack of marital harmony
Establishing and maintaining a child-centered home
Modeling sinful anger
Habitually disciplining while angry
Being inconsistent with discipline
Having double standards
Not admitting you’re wrong and not asking for forgiveness
Constantly finding fault
Parents reversing God-given roles
Not listening to your child’s opinion or taking his or her “side of the story” seriously
Comparing them to others
Not making time just to talk
Not praising or encouraging your child
Failing to keep your promises
Chastening in front of others
Not allowing enough freedom
Allowing too much freedom
Mocking your child
Abusing them physically
Ridiculing or name calling
Child training with worldly methodologies inconsistent with God’s Word
While these can and do apply to children and parents in all kinds of families, what might they look like in a blended family? Let’s expand on a few: Continue reading →
There’s no new blended family post this week, as I’m traveling and couldn’t have it ready on time. So here is the linkup. Stop back by next Sunday for the part 6 in the series, “Provocative Parents & Angry Children.”
Here’s a list of the previous posts in the series, in case you haven’t read them all:
Blended families in the Bible
How to prepare your children for being in a blended family
Damage control—healing the mistakes
Dealing with in-laws and out-laws
Helping your child be part of the “other” blended family
Dealing with “exes”
You’re not my dad!
Your questions, please share them in the comments section.
IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!
IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!
Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site.
I hope you’ll take the time to visit someone else and get to know them and I would love it if you link back in some way and followed me on FaceBook, Twitter or Pinterest.
This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!
If you spend hours in prayer each day and your prayer life is always amazing, this post probably isn’t for you. But if, like me, you sometimes feel like you’re going through the motions or you don’t always connect with God the way you would like, you might want to keep reading.
First, let me say that reading books about prayer cannot be a substitute for prayer itself, but I sometimes find it helpful to read a short portion in a good book on the subject at the start of my prayer time. It helps me get my focus off my upcoming appointments, the post that needs to be written, and the rest of my to-do list.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born in 1834 and died in 1892. He is still known today as “The Prince of Preachers.” He was called to his ministry in London at the age of 20 and started with a congregation of 232. By 1865 25,000 copies of his sermons were printed and sold each week and were translated into more than twenty languages. Spurgeon built the Metropolitan Tabernacle into a congregation of over 6,000 and added well over 14,000 members during his thirty-eight-year London ministry. It’s estimated that he preached to 10,000,000 people during his lifetime.
According to the editor:
He remains history’s most widely read preacher. There is more available material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author, living or dead. His sixty-three volumes of sermons stand as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity, comprising the equivalent to the twenty-seven volumes of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Many of his sermons were on the subject of prayer and he was known to implore the people of his congregation to pray for him. The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life has been carefully edited from many of those sermons.
His great success has been attributed to many things:
Much is made of the combination of a beautiful speaking voice, a dramatic flair and style that was captivating, a powerful commitment to a biblical theology, and his ability to speak to the people of his day in a manner that addressed their deepest needs. Undoubtedly, all of these were of major importance. But they don’t explain the most important ingredient.
We all need heroes. Even the Apostle Paul said that we were to follow him and others as they follow Christ, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3.17).
On the other hand he warned us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15.33).
Who we hang out with, who we follow, who we choose as heroes, can have a profound effect on our lives. When we read the biographies of great men and women who have gone before us, we have an opportunity to see how they lived and to follow their example.
In Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Metaxas writes about seven men who experienced struggles and faced challenges that would have crushed lesser men. These men and their stories—George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson—can encourage all of us to be strong in the face of opposition and live right in a world that has little or no standard.
What makes great men & what is the secret of their greatness?
What is biblical manhood and what makes men worthy examples? Metaxas’ book doesn’t just tell us, it shows us through the lives of these seven men. (I’ll talk about women who exemplify biblical womanhood in a future blog.)
Metaxas tells us first what it isn’t, here are several excerpts for the opening chapter:
The first false idea about manhood is the idea of being macho— of being a big shot and using strength to be domineering and to bully those who are weaker. Obviously this is not God’s idea of what a real man is. It’s someone who has not grown up emotionally, who might be a man on the outside, but who on the inside is simply an insecure and selfish boy.
The second false choice is to be emasculated— to essentially turn away from your masculinity and to pretend that there is no real difference between men and women. Your strength as a man has no purpose, so being strong isn’t even a good thing.
God’s idea of manhood is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the two false ideas of either being macho or being emasculated. The Bible says that God made us in his image, male and female, and it celebrates masculinity and femininity. And it celebrates the differences between them. Those differences were God’s idea.
For one thing, the Bible says that men are generally stronger than women, and of course Saint Peter famously— or infamously— describes women as “the weaker sex.” But God’s idea of making men strong was so that they would use that strength to protect women and children and anyone else. There’s something heroic in that. Male strength is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, it’s always and everywhere meant to be used to bless others. In Genesis 12:1–3, God tells Abraham that he will bless him so that Abraham can bless others. All blessings and every gift— and strength is a gift— are God’s gifts, to be used for his purposes, which means to bless others. So men are meant to use their strength to protect and bless those who are weaker. That can mean other men who need help or it can mean women and children. True strength is always strength given over to God’s purposes.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne Mack.
Anger and Stress: Who hasn’t struggled with one or both of them at some time? And if we don’t learn to get them under control, they can cause a lifetime of damage.
Most of us know people who’ve been told they need “anger management,” but anger is ultimately a heart issue and if we don’t learn to manage it God’s way it will just show up somewhere else.
Stress is usually quieter, but can rob us of the peace and joy that can and should be ours.
I have used Dr. Mack’s book many times in counseling, but it can be used very effectively by individuals and couples, as well. It’s very readable, practical, and can be life changing for those looking for God’s truth in this area.
From the introduction:
Anger! Stress! These are two words that are used frequently in the course of our daily lives. They’re so commonly used because they describe a very common phenomenon. Who of us has not been on the giving and receiving end of anger? Unfortunately, the same is true of stress. We all know people or perhaps we’re the people who have been “stressed out.” Well, whether it’s anger or stress, we are all too familiar with the experience. Who of us has never observed or even been a participant in the devastating consequences of either of these two destroyers?
Yes, I call them destroyers because that’s what they are and do. Nothing good has ever come out of mishandled stress or sinful anger. Scripture says, “Wrath is fierce and anger a flood” (Proverbs 27: 4). How picturesque and how true is this description of sinful anger. An unbiblical kind of anger is like a flood that destroys people and property. Truly, “the wrath of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1: 20). In fact, it does the opposite. It never does anything good, but it surely does a lot of damage. So we must learn how to control it, or it will destroy us and other people either literally or figuratively.
Likewise, it can be said that stress is much like anger in its effects on the individual and his relationships with people. Eustress (good stress – a certain amount of concern) is good, but eustress can quickly and easily become distress, which by definition is that which causes sorrow, misery, pain or suffering.
The eight chapters that follow are full of practical information about the differences between sinful anger and righteous anger, the roots of stress, the consequences of mishandling anger and stress, and “the way of escape” from sinful ways of responding to the stressors and trigger points of life. Each truth is backed up with Scripture references.
One of the most helpful chapters contains six diagnostic questions to help us get to the Continue reading →
Christians and depression: We don’t often think both of those words should describe us. Yet, for some us, that is or has been our experience. Robert Somerville has written a great resource, describing a dark time in his life, the stories of others, and the hope found in Christ, the Gospel, and the Word of God.
From Somerville’s introduction:
I am endeavoring in this book to write about what I experienced and what I learned in the one foray into deep depression through which I journeyed. I pray that I will never have to pass that way again! It was a dreadful experience, some of which is hard to remember because I was so far out of it so as not to have a clear recollection of it. Many other parts are hard to remember because it is humbling to think of the wildness and incoherence of my thoughts and doubts. The chapter titles are the questions that I wrestled with.
When C.S. Lewis set out to write his autobiography Surprised by Joy he said “I have been emboldened to write of it because I notice that a man seldom mentions what he had supposed to be his own most idiosyncratic sensations without receiving from at least one (often more) of those present the reply, ‘What! Have you felt that too? I always thought I was the only one.’”1
How encouraging it is for those struggling with faith to read how Lewis was dragged by God over the threshold of faith, kicking and screaming and went on to inspire faith in millions! Likewise, each time I speak on the subject of depression and share some of my most humbling and even reviling thoughts that went through my mind in the depths of the depression, I have at least one (often more) come to me following the session and state “I have had those same thoughts! I know how you felt because I have been there! I have never shared my thoughts with anyone else because I didn’t think anyone would understand, and I believed I would be condemned!”
Could you be that one? Have you struggled with the dark feelings of depression? Continue reading →
I’m frequently asked about good devotionals for couples. Sweethearts for a Lifetime is one of my favorites.
Wayne and Carol Mack have been married almost 50 years. Wayne was a pastor for many of those years. He has taught college and graduate school courses in biblical counseling at The Master’s College and Seminary; Westminster Theological Seminary, Biblical Seminary and the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. He has conducted seminars and conferences and been the Director of a Counseling Center and Training School. He is a charter member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC).
He and Carol are both Certified Biblical Counselors and and have done hours and hours of counseling. Their ministry has helped many couples throughout the years and, through this book, that wisdom and insight is available to us.
Who would benefit from a book like this?
Maybe you’ve been married for decades. Maybe you’re a newlywed. Maybe you already know your marriage needs some work. Maybe your marriage is basically solid, but like all marriages, can use ongoing tuneups to keep things running smoothly. Maybe you and your spouse aren’t a divorce statistic, but have long since ceased to be sweethearts. Or maybe you’re engaged and don’t want your marriage to end up like so many others. Is this book for you?
Yes … yes … and yes!
What can you expect to find?
The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 covers the six P’s of a good marriage relationship. Parts 2 and 3 discuss how to be a fulfilled and fulfilling husband and wife, respectively.
The chapters are short, making it possible to do one each day. Many include inventories and assessments to help you see where your marriage needs work and most have Continue reading →