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Mommy’s Been Busy with Preach It, Teach It!

Mommy and Daddy have a great site for puppies and humans. Bible studies galore, great speakers and authors about every Bible topic imaginable! Visit our site and read all of the cool answers in Ask Roger: Questions You Were Afraid to Ask like “Can My Mom Hear Me in Heaven????…..My mommy has a hilarious history of her escapades as a bratty little kid in Julie’s Story: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life. Daddy sermonizes along with Francis Chan, Max Lucado, Mark Batterson, Larry Osborne, Beth Moore, Ed Young Jr., Glenn Barteau, Chris Brown, Jeff Jones, Pete Briscoe, and other Bible teachers. Don’t miss their cool stuff. It makes me pant just to think about it. I have become a very smart, godly Golden Retriever. I may start my own doggie park ministry. Good plan.

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.

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!

Rosie, Donald, Mel and Lindsay…Is it hoof and mouth disease?

Rosie O’Donnell goes head to head with Donald Trump over her smart-mouthed comment about his judgment concerning a hard-partying Miss U.S.A. Mel Gibson creates a stunning movie masterpiece called “The Passion of the Christ” and then insults his audience with an anti-Semitic drunken tirade. Wispy little starlets like Lindsey Lohan have their insulting little gossip wars spattered over the latest trashy magazine. Didn’t that sound like the catfights you overheard in the high school girl’s bathroom?

Have you ever played “telephone’? You know, it’s that cute little game where you whisper down the line and see how closely the last person can quote the first one. The telephone game is especially difficult if one of the players has braces or earwax. This little exercise is much more true-to-life than we would like to admit. Gossip is a favorite feminine pastime. It is a shame we are so predisposed to scandal. Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs that angry words or slanderous words spell disaster to human relationships. The crafty monarch teaches us many powerful lessons about the tongue. Proverbs 10:18-“He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” The tongue can reveal much about our physical health—if it is coated, we may have an intestinal virus—if it is red, we may have an infection.

Solomon, James and Jesus all taught us about the symbiotic relationship between our tongues and our hearts. In Matthew 12:34-35 Jesus talked about the tongue-the litmus paper that reveals our soul. “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” The best way to be sure we don’t stomp the hearts of people around us is to have a loving attitude—to see the good in people and to give them the benefit of the doubt instead of the benefit of the slop!

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.

 

Babies and Puppies…

 Jocelyn Engeler, my seven-week-old grandpuppy, is the cutest thing since sliced bread.  This fuzzy blue-eyed bundle of fur almost disappears when she romps through the grass tufts of her backyard.  My daughter Brianna bought her a smashing brocade dress with fur trim.  Although Jocelyn seemed pretty fond of her new digs, she couldn’t right herself when she rolled over.  She lay helplessly dangling those little pawpads toward the sky in hopes that some nice human would have pity on her and set her on her feet once again.  Everything a puppy does is cute. 

They chew on your shoe at eight weeks, and they’re just adorable.  Peaches the poodle pees a puddle under the table and everyone chuckles.  Wheezer the Shetland sheeppuppy eats the leftover brisket on the kitchen counter and the dog parents roll their eyes and giggle under their breaths.  Nothing is cuter than a puppy…even if they gnaw at your Nikes, sleep on your bathrobe, or nibble your fingers.

  But there comes a day when puppyhood ceases to be amusing.  The larger the canine, the more damaging the teethmarks, the more annoying the whining, and the more putrid the poo smell.God expects us to act like spiritual babies when we first meet Jesus.  We are learning who our Daddy is, and who He wants us to be.  He offers to patiently train us and mold us into the image of His precious Son Jesus.  We can be pliable and trainable.  When we are toddlers, Mom and Dad expect us to stick our fingers in a few light sockets, or toddle into a muddy flower bed.  Then it is time to mature.  The shoes of secret sins need to be off-limits.  The scent we leave should be kindness and gentleness.  The pungent aroma of bitterness and selfishness does not become us.  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12: 1-2.  

Growing into Doghood takes time and patience on the part of the owner.  Fortunately,Our Trainer is gracious and wise.  He will not let us grow up to be mangy mongrels.He has destined us to be champions.    

Wonder Woman

“Some are born to greatness…some have greatness thrust upon them.”  The Story of Esther has inspired me since I was a young girl.  Queen Esther, wife of Artaxerxes, was not born to greatness.  She lived as an orphaned slave in a foreign land in 500 B.C…  Her parents were murdered by Persian soldiers, and she was raised by her elderly uncle.  Esther learned much about life from her wise caretaker.  Uncle Mordecai taught her to be proud of her lineage, and to love learning.  As a young girl she studied reading and writing-a discipline seldom acquired by young girls.  Queen Vashti, Xerxes’ first wife, rebelled against her husband in a treasonous act of defiance.  As a young maiden, Esther was taken away from Mordecai-stripped of the only family she knew, and was placed in the harem of the King.  If the King had not chosen Esther, she would have lived in seclusion and loneliness for the rest of her life.  Esther could have been angry and bitter to have so many losses in her life.  But Esther was a woman of faith.  Once again, she listened to the wisdom of the chief eunuch entrusted with her care.  The young maiden spent months being groomed for her night with the King.  I’m sure she didn’t mind all the perfume baths and wonderful skin treatments.  Every lady loves to go to the beauty shop!  But Esther was a quick study.  She allowed those eunuchs to teach her about the king and his culture.  She listened to the advice of her mentor.  Each maiden was allowed to take whatever jewelry and garments she wanted when she was brought before the King.  But Esther didn’t focus on the jewelry-although most women love to shop for jewelry more than anything!  She took only what the eunuch advised. After one night with the King, the young Esther captured the heart of the powerful ruler.  She was not only radiantly beautiful—she was intelligent, gracious, and discreet.  Xerxes immediately crowned the little slave girl queen of the largest kingdom in the known world.  Esther could have lived her life in luxury and selfishness, but she never forgot who she was, or what she believed.  No circumstance or temptation could cause her to compromise her values.  But Queen Esther’s reign was not peaceful-it was full of danger and court intrigue.  A bitter enemy of her people sought to assassinate her uncle.  Only through Esther’s prayers did a miracle occur. 

The night before Uncle Mordecai was to be executed; the King could not sleep, and called for his servants to bring him the historical court records to read.  That very night, Xerxes read where Mordecai, Esther’s beloved uncle, had foiled a plot to kill the King.   Mordecai was honored instead of extinguished. But her fight to survive had only begun.  The wicked Haman, one of Xerxes’ advisors, had craftily devised a plot to massacre all of Esther’s people.  Mordecai raced to tell his niece of the deadly plot.  Esther knew that if she approached Xerxes without being summoned, she would be pierced through the heart with the spear of his palace guards.  Esther, then, had a choice.  She could ignore the oppression of her people, and live in the safety and security of her husband’s palace, or she could make a desperate plea to save her people.  She asked her uncle what to do.  He said, “Little one, God may raise up a hero from another place, but who is to know whether you have been born for such a time as this?”  Esther hesitated, and then spoke with courageous resolve-“Pray and fast for me three days, and I and my servants will do the same.  At such time I will approach the King, and if I perish, I perish.”  Esther held her breath, and with her heart beating so loud she could feel it in her throat, she went to the doorway of the throne room.  To her surprise and relief, Xerxes held out his spear to her and granted her request. Esther inspires my life in so many ways.  I see her model what a great woman should be like.  What are her character qualities that we can emulate to be “Women of greatness.?”  We never live our lives in a vacuum.  The foundation of our character is formed in the context of family, in the context of community.  Esther learned to serve her uncle and to honor his advice and wisdom.  A great lady is always looking to learn from others-especially those older and wiser than she.  Developing strong relationships not only makes our lives rich and complete, it gives us the ability to really build into the lives of others.  Home is where we learn to meet the needs of others, to share our feelings, and to solidify our values.Esther was not afraid to be who she was.  God has given us intelligence, skill, and talent that we can use to bless and shape the lives of others.  These are gifts.  We must not hide them.  They are like a present, an endowment that we should invest.  Every opportunity we have is a chance to grow and increase those gifts.  A famous proverb says “He who is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.” When we are faithful with a few talents, God will give us more.  Esther began her life as a trustworthy niece.  She ended her life as a great queen.  The Persian monarch did not focus on the outward things-the money, the power, the privilege.  She focused upon being a woman of character and conviction.  Her purity and grace were so obvious that even the eunuchs emasculated and enslaved to care for her loved and admired her.Esther was discreet.  She knew how the culture worked, and she navigated wisely through its waters.  She was independent, but respectful.  She was strong, but not overbearing.  She was brilliant, but not prideful and arrogant.  Her timing was perfect.  She knew how to read people( to recognize by observation what they are feeling and thinking, and to respond appropriately.  She used her influence to bless the lives of others.Most of us are not born to greatness.  We only become great in those moments when we have the courage to do what it right.  We stand when no one else is standing, and we are not afraid to lay down our lives for others. All greatness has a cost. All great achievements will require risk.  It will cost us our lives.  And we will never regret paying the price.  Finally, we must be women of faith.  We must have faith in ourselves, faith in others, and faith in God.  Such faith will sustain us when the odds seem insurmountable and the tasks seem impossible.  It will cause us to persevere when we have no strength of our own remaining.  We will find strength beyond our human understanding.                


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