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I waited patiently for the Lord’s help;

then he listened to me and heard my cry.


-Psalm 40:1

Continuing this thought from my last post, I've been considering this call to "forgive us our trespasses...

AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US," from the Lord's Prayer.

What is a trespass anyways?

According to Dictionary.com:

noun

1. Law.

  1. an unlawful act causing injury to the person, property, or rights of another, committed with force or violence, actual or implied.
  2. a wrongful entry upon the lands of another.
  3. the action to recover damages for such an injury.

2. an encroachment or intrusion.

3. an offense, sin, or wrong.

verb (used without object)

4. Law. to commit a trespass.

5. to encroach on a person's privacy, time, etc.; infringe (usually followed by on or upon).

6. to commit a transgression or offense; transgress; offend; sin.

 

So whenever someone trespasses against me, that person has either ignorantly or knowingly crossed a boundary line. When this happens, it is most certainly important to instill consequences, but it is possibly even more important that when instilling needful consequences, we don’t do so utilizing the harmful tool of shame or cruelty. It really is such a balance act on a tight rope, isn’t it? I believe wholeheartedly that this is one crucial reason we need to surround ourselves with wise men and women – people who can help us navigate vital choices when we’re experiencing the painful wounds of having been trespassed against.

Forgiving my trespasser(s) is the only path to freedom from the anchor of bitterness to an event or act against me. I don’t have to “shoot” my trespasser(s), but in working through genuine forgiveness, I also don’t have to continue to be trespassed against.

I’m so grateful for grace and truth that help me live a life of peace and joy even when learning how to handle delicate relational challenges like this!

Shelley Hendrix has authored several books and study guides, including Why Can’t We Just Get Along? which was featured in CALLED Magazine’s Summer 2013 edition as a “Must Read!” She is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks,  2014 Kingdom Awards’ Ministry of the Year honoree, and co-founder of Heart Smart- Counseling, Coaching and Consulting with her husband (and BFF), Stephen D. Hendrix, LPC, CADC II. Together, the Hendrixes help individuals, couples, families and teams learn how to live a "heart smart life" in their relationships both inside and outside of the home.

More of Shelley Hendrix: http://heartsmartlife.com/

Join the Crowd -  

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. —Hebrews 12:1

 

I’m not sure about you, but there are many days when I feel unworthy of my calling as a Christian, husband and father. I’m always encouraged that the “great cloud of witnesses” found in Hebrews 12 refers to the fathers and mothers of our faith (see Hebrews 11). These were not perfect people, but depended daily on God’s strength and power in their lives. My friend Pam Laster, sent me the message below and it’s a great reminder for us all. Someone needs to read this today!

 

No More Excuses

Author Unknown

 

The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember:

Noah was a drunk

Abraham was too old

Isaac was a daydreamer

Jacob was a liar

Leah was ugly

Joseph was abused

Moses had a stuttering problem

Gideon was afraid

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

David had an affair and was a murderer

Elijah was suicidal

Isaiah preached naked

Jonah ran from God

Naomi was a widow

Job went bankrupt

Peter denied Christ

The Disciples fell asleep while praying

Martha worried about everything

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too small

Paul was too religious

Timothy had an ulcer

AND

Lazarus was dead!

Now! No more excuses!

God can use you to your full potential.

Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What types of excuses have you relied upon to suggest that God can’t use you?

 

2. How can you find encouragement in knowing that great people of faith also had flaws?

 

FURTHER READING:

Hebrews 11; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

THE FEAR OF GOD -   

In Lessons on Living

In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. - Daniel 5:5-6

Man is plagued with many fears, some of them odd. Mysophobia is fear of dirt. Hydrophobia is fear of water. Nyctophobia is fear of darkness. Acrophobia is fear of high places. Xenophobia is fear of strangers. Claustrophobia is fear of confined places. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13. Unfortunately, many people who have learned to fear things that they probably shouldn't have never learned to fear God.

Belshazzar was one of those people. Whatever other fears he may have had, a fear of the God of Israel was not one of them. In the midst of a great feast, the king, a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, ordered the gold and silver vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem to be put on display. With utter disregard for the sacred nature of these utensils, and with no concern for God, Belshazzar profaned them by using them in his drunken revelry. It was not until a hand appeared and wrote on the palace wall of God's judgment that this arrogant king began to fear. But by then it was too late. His fate was sealed.

Many people today treat God flippantly. They use His name in vain. They trample His standards of righteousness underfoot. They flout their sin in His face. They treat God's people with disdain and contempt. Yet they show no fear. Only when it's too late for many of them will they realize what fools they've been.

Be assured that one day everyone will fear God. The best course of action is to bow before Him in fear as Savior now so you don't have to bow before Him in fear as Judge later. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Fear God now and you won't have to fear God later.


- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/the-fear-of-god#sthash.ZX2GebWi.dpuf

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

I Don’t Do Drama!  


If you’re like me, you’ve often said – or thought – I don’t do drama. 

Yet, as much as you and I would like to shut the chaos, confusion, and cattiness out of our lives and convince ourselves we don’t do drama, it has a way of creeping into our lives anyway. 


Drama happens when unexpected circumstances hit and we are unprepared to handle them. And drama happens when we come up against family members or people with different personalities, learned behaviors, expectations, and an ability to misunderstand, misinterpret, exaggerate, gossip, disappoint, and act selfishly or inconsiderate. Just being around other people can elicit drama. 

I’d like to think I’m never the cause of anyone else’s drama. But in reality, I can play into unnecessary drama without even realizing it. 

Whether our drama is the petty stuff (like being gossiped about or having a bad day) or the truly painful stuff that catches us off guard (like a cancer diagnosis, the ending of a friendship, or suddenly losing someone we love), how we respond makes all the difference – or all the drama – in the world.  

Our upbringing, personality, and baggage from past wounds can trigger dramatic reactions to varying degrees, especially if we are unaware of our vulnerabilities and what we are capable of.  For instance: 

Do you tend to react emotionally to the unexpected, and think more clearly a little later?

Do you have high expectations of others, especially those closest to you?

Are you easily offended? 

Do you care deeply what others think of you? 

Do you ever feel like you need to please everyone? 

Do you have family members who try to pull you into their problems and issues?

Would you rather stay silent than talk about an issue that’s bothering you?


If you said “yes” to most of those questions you’re pretty much like every other breathing woman on this earth – you have emotions and sometimes struggle with how to express them. But you don’t have to stay that way. As you and I learn how to maturely respond – rather than emotionally react – to what life brings us we can dial down the drama, diffuse it, or eliminate it altogether. 

Here are three ways to respond maturely when drama comes your way: 

1. Consider the bigger picture. Every circumstance you encounter is meant to conform you to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Once you consider this, you can relax and realize God knows what He’s doing in whatever He’s allowing. And you can focus on passing the test, rather than failing it through unnecessary drama. 

2. Capture Your Thoughts. Do you realize that when you feel overwhelmed by health problems, or too many commitments, or relationship difficulties, or emotional distress, it’s possible the enemy of your soul has already formed a stronghold within you and is having a heyday with your thought life? Your only defense it to take those misdirected thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ so they are not running loose in your head and wreaking havoc with your emotional state (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). 

To take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ means capturing or binding them with the truth of God’s Word. Instead of entertaining a loose thought like “I can’t get through this situation” capture that thought with the truth of God’s Word:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Or, instead of entertaining the thought “I’m alone in this” capture that thought with the truth that Christ has said He’ll never leave you or desert you (Hebrews 13:5). 

The more we know of God’s Word, the better we will be able to tame our reckless, wild thoughts. 

3. Correct Your Thinking. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by life and start to freak out, ask yourself: “What am I believing about God that isn’t true?” Focus on the facts, not your feelings. What are the facts about God when your feelings are telling you otherwise? When our feelings lead us down a dark tunnel of despair, we need to switch on the facts of what we know about God to direct us back out. 


Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 15 books including her newest, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You

More of Cindi McMenamin : http://www.strengthforthesoul.com/

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