Archive for July, 2008

You Can Turn Your “Sand Storms” into Pearls

Making Love Last Forever

“I could be happy; I could be in love with life, if only…” pg.55 (Gary)

(But the opposite is true! Without some painful encounters, our quality of life is diminished. Scott Peck begins his classic book. The Road Less Traveled with a now-famous line: “Life is difficult.” He continues: “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.”) Pg. 55 (Gary)

He goes onto suggest we can find pearls in the sandstorm. He uses the example of how a pearl in an oyster started with a piece of sand. In other words, trials in our life make us better and somewhere there is something good to be found within the trial (pearl).

Maybe he is suggesting we start thinking about the pearls even before we find them?

Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

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Seven Ways to Unload Unresolved Anger

Making Love Last Forever

In this chapter he discusses the kind of anger that replays through your mind over and over again like a video. It always seems to resurface. Its a constant companion. Always reminding of a past offense or offenses. I think number 7 would be a tough one.

If your not into 1-2-3 step programs, maybe you can find value in the biblical concepts he is attempting to communicate.

He outlines the ways to dump this anger:

“1. Define the offense

2. Allow Yourself to Grieve

3. Try to Understand Your Offender

4. Release Your Offender

5. Look for Pearls in the Offense

6. Put Your Feelings in Writing

7. “Reach Out” to Your Offender” (Gary)


“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, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

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The Number One Enemy of Love: Unresolved Anger

Making Love Last Forever

Anger itself is not bad. Its how it is used that can be damaging. For example, if someone is breaking into your home, anger could be helpful. If someone criticizes us regarding a performance we may get angry, if the anger drives us to perform better then it can be helpful. If the anger causes us to shut down and give up, then it becomes unproductive anger.

Gary talks in his book about anger being the, “…leading cause of divorce and the single greatest thief on one’s love for life”. pg. 17.

He makes a very insightful statement regarding anger, “But when we bury anger inside us…it’s always buried alive”. In other words, it does not necessarily go away, it does not disintegrate within us. But it is contained inside our spirits. Then he goes on to compare this anger to, “rust on a car”.

In some auto rust remover ads you hear rust referred to as the “silent killer”.

And it is reported that most rust problems occur on the underside of the car. Hmmmm, you don’t really see that part of the vehicle very often.

It gnaws away at your cars metal. If you have ever looked at rust on a vehicle up close, you can see how the metal itself has become weak or maybe it has eaten through the metal.

Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness(James 1:19-20

More on this later…

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Love’s Best Kept Secret

Making Love Last Forever

Pg. 3 of Making Love Last Forever – Gary Smalley

If I were to ask the question: “What is human life’s chief concern?” one of the answers we should receive would be: “It is happiness.” How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most…at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all the are willing to endure. -William Jones

In the book, he describes the first step toward fulfillment and happiness with your spouse as “learning to love life itself”.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

Here is a great example for this, “Think in terms of the oxygen-mask instructions given by airline flight attendants. They say that passengers flying with children or others who need assistance should fasten their own masks first before trying to help someone else. If you don’t make the choice to reach for oxygen for yourself, there’s no point in your trying to help anyone else.” (Gary)

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brief book review – Power of a Praying Husband

Stormie Omartian is an accomplished author, mother and wife. Some of the books she has authored are as follows:

The Prayer That Changes Everything: The Hidden Power of Praising God

The Power of a Praying Woman

The Power of a Praying Parent: Prayer and Study Guide

The Power of a Praying Wife

Stormie

Praying God’s Will for Your Life: A Prayerful Walk to Spiritual Well Being

Just Enough Light for the Step I’m on

A Book of Prayer

This book (Power of a Praying Husband) is for anyone who wants inside information on how to pray for your wife. Not just in a general way, but it highlights specific instruction on how and what to pray. The bonus is an easy to understand context of the womans mind. Not to suggest a woman’s mind is easy to understand. She uses her own personal experiences to communicate what is considered important to woman. And it becomes apparent that some of her insight goes beyond experience and is discernment from the Holy Spirit.

I highly recommend this book. Very useful, It could change the course of your marriage in a genuine way.

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Her Future

The Power of a Praying Wife/Husband

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Pg. 213 our final chapter, in the book by Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Husband. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Short review of the book coming later.

I’ve been looking at 4 different books for the next study. Not 100% sure but think I have decided to go through the book by Gary Smalley – Making Love Last Forever. A couple of concepts really jumped out and grabbed my attention, especially this one: “The first step toward achieving the deep satisfaction of a lifelong love with your spouse is learning to love life itself — every part of it, good and bad, harsh and rewarding.” (Gary Smalley) I realize this is a difficult statement and that is why I am intrigued by what he is going to say. He is suggesting the way to help a marriage is to appreciate your every day existence and I believe he is going to suggest ways as to how we do this.

Stormie talks about investing in the future. She uses the example of watching the stock market but never investing, just watching. You will never make any money with that method no matter how much you watch.

“The same is true for our future. When we invest wisely, we see greater dividends. However unlike the stock market, when we don’t invest anything, we can still lose. And those losses can be devastating.” (Stormie)

“The most profitable way to invest in the future is to pray”. (Stormie)

At one point, it sounds like she dealt with anxiety about her future on a regular basis. One particular time when she was troubled, Pastor Jack Hayford made a profound statement to her…

“Don’t let where you are become a prophecy of where you’re going to stay.” (Jack Hayford)

In other words, don’t worry about the future, concentrate on doing the right thing. God is in charge and in control of the future. But our decisions made (out of the realm of His guidelines) can alter the course. So stay the course. Focus on His plans and His ways. An easy way to think about that is an example of constructing a home or some other kind of building such as an office, restaurant or manufacturing plant.

Not to suggest it will be easy, but there is a right way to proceed. The project manager or general contractor is going to focus on quality, time, cost, organization, and the plans for the building. God has a plan also. Its our job to follow it the best we can. The interesting thing about a building project is the actual construction is imperfect or never turns out exactly as was anticipated. Because there were things that came up during the project which may have slightly changed the original plan. Or imperfect humans didn’t follow the plan to perfection. It could have been a slight modification or it may have been a significant rework. But the building is still the building if the contractor continues to focus on the plan no matter how many problems may arise. It still functions exactly as intended. The plan was followed enough to provide a functional building.

There are three parties that make this project happen an owner, architect and builder. Guess which role we have? You are correct we are the builder, the hands and the feet. Our objective is to know the plan, work the plan and when (not if) things don’t go right get back on the plan.

Do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Proverbs 3:1-3

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Prayer in School

This is unrelated to anything we are studying, but I deemed this letter (I came across) by Darrel Scott to be noteworthy.

“On Thursday, May 27, 1999, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s sub-committee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful. They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness.”

The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Fourth Of July

…Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.

Happy Fourth of July. (Ronald Reagan) President of the United States

It’s here, our 232nd birthday and I don’t feel a day over 230. And here are those famous words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We cannot stop the fight to continue our freedom for us as well as our children. As the saying goes, freedom is never more than one generation away from destruction.

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WHERE IS PATIENCE WHEN YOU NEED IT?

Patience is one of those virtues we have in abundant supply until we need it. But it is a very difficult virtue to develop. The Bible says there is only one way to achieve it. Tribulation works patience (see Romans 5:3-5). (Dr. Dobbins)….

The article continues to explain the following points:

Tribulation

Patience

Experience

Hope

A Heart Full of the Love of God

click on the link for the rest of the article

WHERE IS PATIENCE WHEN YOU NEED IT

God will strengthen you with His own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. Colossians 1:11

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KEEPING YOUR LIFE IN BOUNDS

Boundaries are to help us define our identity and to provide us with security. When you allow your life to get out of bounds you feel insecure. (By Dr. Richard D. Dobins)

Check this article out about boundaries. I forgot my study book this week. So I’m reviewing the Dr. Dobins articles. Very good stuff. By the way, I believe there is only one more chapter left on our “Power of Praying husband/wife” book.
Keeping Your Life In Bounds

I could not agree more with Dr. Dobins statement above. Stepping out of God-given boundaries is a free pass to an unsound mind. It opens your emotions up to unbalanced thinking. Its like a school cross-walk on a busy street with no crossing guard.

At my place of work, I recall speaking with a potential “installer” for our equipment. He was in his first week of employment and on a 60 day trial period. He had plenty of experience and seemed self-confident enough to lead a project for our customers. Until I spent time with him during lunch and dinner. Inevitably he would begin to discuss his old employers and became indignant about each experience he had over a 40 year period, including his 2 years in the service. Every story, ended with resentfulness on his part. Basically, he had taken down the anger barrier in his life and had no intentions of controlling it. It became part of his personality. So my obvious apprehension was the likely possibility of his communicating this to a customer. He had not demonstrated any ability to forget or at least control his feelings about all of those who had been in authority over him. All of us, most likely could recall some bad experience where we were mishandled or treated unfairly. But common sense boundaries help us to know how and when to deal with those feelings. This potential employee had taken the walls down in this area of his life.

Never plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. Deuteronomy 22:10

A husband who brings home anger (or any emotion which has crossed God-given boundaries) everyday to a wife who attempts to follow biblical boundaries is like plowing with an ox and a donkey together.

Take a look at the meaning of the word “together” in this verse, it depicts a unit:
yachad (yakh’-ad)
a unit, i.e. (adverb) unitedly — alike, at all (once), both, likewise, only, (al-)together, withal.

A husbands unrestrained emotions will directly effect his spouse.

AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Mark 10:8

To summarize, you cannot live an undisciplined life crossing necessary boundaries without effecting your partner.

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