Archive for the 'Home' Category

Desperate Housewives, or Happy Homebodies?

 

What makes Desperate Housewives such an appealing story for so many women? The premise for this superhit is that these women live lives of quiet desperation. Eva Longoria, Gabbie, yearns to be younger and sexier like she felt in her supermodel days. Marcia Cross, Brie Van De Camp, wants her marriage to be perfect-in suburban Utopia.

       Teri Hatcher, Susan, hopes for a future where she will know true love. The women are desperate because they either wish for the joys of their past or long for the hopes and dreams of the future. Where is the contentment? In life and in love, timing is EVERYTHING. In Ecclesiastes 3: 1, Solomon writes: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to be born, a time to die”.
In the stages of a relationship, there are beauties and blessings no matter what your stage of life. In marriage, God intended for every day of our lives to be sweeter.

One of our best early memories was bus breakfast. The one and only time in our marriage Roger made anything worth eating was on Saturday morning. He would boil 100 eggs, dump some butter and flour to make a gravy and pour the pasty mess over some refrigerated biscuits. Yum, yum….Roger had about twenty volunteers that would meet at church and canvas nearby neighborhoods for children who wanted to come to our church. As a children’s pastor, Roger would wear sheep costumes and donkey outfits to entertain the children-it was great fun.

Then came the kiddie years. We remember all the birthday parties. Bronwyn was born in November, so we’d buy the leftover Halloween costumes (the non-scary ones) and have a dress-up party complete with chubby bunnies and sack races.

All of the kiddie moments weren’t great memories. Some of their antics put a strain on our relationship. Like the time Brianna poured wheat paste over Bronwyn’s head-it took two hours of kicking and screaming in the shower to do damage control. In the middle years of our marriage, we’ve had some great fun while the kids are grown. We loved backpacking through Europe, hopping trains and climbing Alps.Now after many years of wedded bliss, we finish each other’s sentences, and order the same thing at restaurants. And someday, we’ll meet each other at the Eastern Gate in heaven.

       Every stage of life is beautiful in its time…as long as we cultivate it and set it on a solid foundation.Solomon writes at the end of this book these wonderful words…”Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” When your marriage is based on a spiritual foundation, God makes every stage of your relationship beautiful in its time….there is peace, contentment, and joy.

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Clumsy or Savvy?

Polar Bears are adorable because they are so clumsy-they lumber around the Arctic slipping and sliding on the ice, and falling headfirst into the snow. For a polar bear, clumsy is cute. My husband, bless his heart, is a little bit clumsy. He can walk down the hall of our house and pictures will “jump off the wall!” I don’t give him dishes in the kitchen made of glass. They somehow seem to fall out of his hands onto the floor. People who are clumsy in relationships are not so cute. Do you know how to read the needs of others, or do you just roll over their emotions like a bulldozer? When we have processed our own pain and our hurts are mourned and comforted, it gives us the ability to see the needs of those around us. We become need-meeters, not need-depleters. The non-verbal cues you receive from your friends may cause tension in a variety of ways. If you operate in a dysfunctional manner, with hidden agendas and unrevealed expectations, you might as well check into Alcoholics Anonymous together. Instead, start the friendship by laying all the cards on the table. If you don’t have enough emotional energy to pursue the relationship at the level of your friend, tell them. Where boundaries need to be set, lay them out. I don’t know about you, but watching a movie with subtitles can be exhausting. So can a friendship where nobody lays the cards on the table.

Proverbs 25:20-“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Mirroring is a technique utilized by counselors when a patient is hysterically spinning out of control.

One of our pastor friends was a missionary to Alaska. He worked with Eskimos, and Jim was a real boozer. Jim stumbled into the churchhouse one Sunday so liquored up and enraged, he knocked over tables and chairs like they were toothpicks.

This savvy pastor began to gesticulate like Bigfoot with the same large, overbearing body language as his boorish parishioner. Every time Jim would speak, Joe would gradually make his body language more quiet and controlled. By reflecting back nonverbal cues, the pastor brought the wino under control.

If your friend is hurting or depressed your response can either comfort her or drive her away. When a buddy mourns, do you tell her the nine spiritual reasons why she shouldn’t feel that way? Do you try to cheer her up by telling her all the good things that are going on in your life? Or do you mourn with her and comfort her in her pain?

King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 writes: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them. A time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

There are teachable moments and tearful moments. Raise your “people antenna” and begin to sense the needs others around you!

Dreamgirls

Every girl wants to be a dreamgirl. One day you’re singing in the shower, and the next day, you are singing on the stage! Not to mention the wigs, the glittery outfits, and the cheering throng. Jennifer Hudson is living that dream. She started as a shy, chubby songbird on American Idol and graduated to a big-league diva in a matter of months. Very few dreamgirls are born with the silver spoon in their mouths. Kate Hudson, maybe-the sticklike ditzy blonde born to sixties “It Girl” Goldie Hawn. Drew Barrymore-offspring of the famous Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore-got a boost from the Golden Age of Hollywood glitterati. But how about you and me? Maybe your parents were schoolteachers or plumbers in Podunk, Louisiana. How can we live the dream? Well, we have the opportunity to be rich heiresses. We don’t have to own a hotel chain like Paris and Nicky Hilton. The Bible tells us we are heirs to the riches of heaven and the blessings on earth. Jesus came to redeem the world. He bought it back with His blood when He died on the cross. John the disciple wrote these words: “The true light (Jesus) that lights up every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own people, and they didn’t receive Him. Yet to all who received Jesus, the ones who believed in His name (that He was God’s son and came to give eternal life to the world by the ransom that He paid on the cross), He gave the right to become children of God-not children of natural descent, nor of human decision, but born of God. John 1:8-12, (Julie’s paraphrase). Every movie star would like to escape the aging process-no plastic surgery, nothing drooping or falling apart. God says when we invite Jesus into our lives, we have life forever. We cheat death. Cool, huh? WE have all of His riches. We even get crowns for all sorts of great stuff.

I even read in John 14 that there are mansions in heaven and we each get one. The ones in California are subject to smogs and earthquakes. These are better. Now why would God want us to be Dreamgirls? Just one reason-He loves us. He loved us before we were even born, and He wants to bless every aspect of our lives. Now that’s what I call a dream come true!

Nicole, Kate, and Keira-Happily Ever After?

After perusing one issue of People magazine and surveying the corpselike figures of Nicole Richie, Kate Bosworth and Keira Knightly, we can discern that our self-perceptions can be horribly skewed. How thin is thin enough? We can assume that the issue for all of us is to treat our bods as God’s and not quibble about His architecture. Have you ever heard a man lament “I have my mother’s thighs?” Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you wish you were thinner, richer, smarter than your peers? Do you long for their reputation or family history? My daughter Bronwyn analyzes the self image struggle some women have. She says some women are fappy-fat and happy. They know how to eat, drink, and be merry, though they may struggle to fit into those new designer jeans. But they couldn’t care less. Some women are thad-thin and sad. Every meal is an opportunity to conquer themselves, and they are good at it. Some women are thappy-those are the string beans who can eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce. We hate them. Most of us are chad-chubbier than we’d like and sad about it! We try to say no, and then beat ourselves up when we succumb to the lure of the cheeseburger. But oh, was it good. But oh, will my jeans fit tomorrow? One of the greatest hindrances to effective relational skills is our own self image hang-ups. We need to interact with healthy self-awareness.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourself”-Jesus called it the Greatest Commandment. We cannot love someone if we do not first get a grip on loving ourselves. King David-the rich, powerful King of Israel had it all. He was called the man after God’s own heart. He killed the giant Goliath when he was just a teenaged pipsqweak. The whole nation of Israel sang of his military prowess. “King Saul killed his thousands, but David his ten thousands.” He had paparazzi before cameras were invented. Girls swooned. Men admired him. His soldiers would do anything for him. They even risked their lives to go behind enemy lives just to bring him some “Perrier.” But David-celebrity that he was-had some serious rejection issues. We don’t know if he was on the pudgy side, but we do know he was insecure. When Samuel came around to Jesse’s house to anoint a king, Jesse, David’s father, didn’t even think David was king material. He left him in the field with the sheep. Michal, David’s first wife, ditched him when David fled from her crazy dad. David had the hots for Bathsheba, but even then it didn’t last. Abigail, Nabal’s widow seemed a suitable partner, but you don’t hear from her at the end of David’s reign. All we really know for sure is that David was lonely at the end of his life. The king was still looking for love on his deathbed. He called for Abishag, a young virgin to be placed beside him in his final moments.

God does not want us to live a loveless life. He tells us we are his “embroidery!” God sent His only Son Jesus to die on a cross so that we might share heaven with God. If we ask Jesus to come into our lives and to forgive our shortcomings and brokenness, He promises to make us celebrities! We have a new name and a new heart! Our bods are God’s.

Honeymoon’s Last Resort!

As females, we must often train the males of the species in basic relational skills. For example, the hubby thinks to himself-“I need to say something about her trip to the beauty shop” so he yells, “Hey Babe, what’s up with your hair?” Another really wise male maneuver is to never ever answer your wife’s question-“Does this make me look fat?” I met a pastor-husband last week who gave his wife a bathroom scale and a set of hand weights for her birthday. I am almost sure he had a death wish. Even traffic safety signs are written with some decorum-“Please drive slowly, we love our children.” Not, “Gun it, we’ll make more!” If God had given King Solomon more wisdom than anyone on earth, he would have certainly bestowed some empathy on the dynamic monarch. Solomon never would have survived the estrogen onslaught of his bloated harem without a touch of savoir-faire. And here’s a little secret–You don’t have to be a MENSA member to have successful people-skills. In fact the opposite can be true. If you look at the left brain human capacity for engineering, math and science, you will find that those individuals (most of them male) have less relational skills than right-brained people. The abstract-random creative, touchy-feely right brainers can’t find their way out of a parking lot, but they can read the body language of a friend in distress. If you are very, very high on the left-brained end of the spectrum, you may have autism or asberger’s syndrome. These people cannot read the emotions of those around them. In fact, successful long-term relationships are almost impossible. But these guys are the ones you want to balance your checkbook and fix your computer. The right-brainers can sniff out hurt, pain and fear a mile away, but please don’t ask them to carry a watch or work a Blackberry.

Solomon, in his fatherly moments, had a great deal to say about relating to others with sensitivity and kindness. His wisdom would serve us well in our everyday lives with our families, our friends and our neighbors. Let’s start where the rubber meets the road-honesty. Proverbs 27:6-“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 26:23-26 “Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart.” Sine cera is a stamp that appeared on Middle Eastern pottery in Bible times. If a pot was cracked some shady merchants would fill the cracks with wax. The pots looked spiffy on the outside, but they fell to pieces when grandma started cooking her favorite matzo bread. A pot that was all one piece was given a badge of honor that read “without wax.” Sincerity is a powerful part of a successful relationship. What you see is what you get.

 


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