Did Christmas Disappoint You?

Did Christmas Disappoint You?

Feeling Holiday DepressionFor most of us, yesterday was Christmas. The gifts have been opened. The food has been eaten. The Christmas carols have been sung. And now it’s over.

Feeling a little let down? Did Christmas disappoint you?

Perhaps you didn’t get the gift you left a not-so-subtle hint about. Perhaps you gave someone a gift you thought would get a big response, but it bombed. Perhaps the turkey burned, or the pie you baked tasted awful.

Or maybe it’s something much deeper. Perhaps an estranged has child failed to come home – again. Perhaps shuffling children between mom’s place and dad’s place has reopened the wounds of your previously failed marriage – again. Perhaps having to deal with a loved one’s mental illness or addiction, members of an extended or step-family who you don’t like, or the new reality of life after the death of a loved one has left you only empty and spent – again.

Our hope for the perfect Christmas is almost never met. We may try to tell ourselves we don’t have unrealistic expectations, but we can’t help creating them in our mind. And every time we end up disappointed.

And most of all, the failure of reality to live up to our secret expectations leaves us disappointed in ourselves. We see all too clearly our failures as a parent, a child, a friend, or a spouse.

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Are You In The Right Church?

Are You In The Right Church?

Is church importantThere’s a wonderful gospel song that proclaims, “God’s building a church!” Yes, He certainly is. And YOU are a vital part of what He is doing. But are you in the right church?

Fortunately or unfortunately, the church is made up of people. Broken, hurting, sinful people. The cliché is true: God’s church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints.    Tweet that.

If you’re looking for the perfect church, you’ll have to wait until heaven. When all God’s children are gathered around His throne there won’t be any denominations or brands, any races, any theological differences, or anything else that divides. We will all be enraptured by His glory and grace, and lose sight of everything else including our differences.

Until then, we must use wisdom and godly discernment in knowing which church is to be our home. There are some churches where deadly viruses such as legalism, false teaching, or religious abuse make growing in grace all but impossible. Some people are church hoppers: something happens they don’t like, and they leave. Others stay in an unhealthy or destructive church out of a false sense of loyalty. Neither is God’s plan.

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5 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

5 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Feeling UpsetInto every life some difficult people must come. These are the people who make you feel small, stupid, and powerless. They’re the ones you assume you should have a relationship with, but you cringe every time you come in contact, or communicate with them. Somehow they have a way of making you feel like YOU are the crazy one. But somehow you still have to deal with difficult people.

Your difficult person might be your boss, your coworker, a sibling, an in-law, or even a parent. It might be a friend or classmate you developed a connection with before realizing how difficult the relationship would become. Whoever it is, they feel like a thorn in your side and you wish they would just go away.

A difficult person is not simply someone who needs your help. Here are some characteristics of a truly difficult person:

  • Refuses to take responsibility for their own life, feelings, and behavior
  • Turns simple challenges into major drama
  • Continually expects you to rescue them from their own problems
  • Makes you feel guilty if you don’t do what they demand
  • Blames you for any problems in the relationship, while demanding you stay connected
  • Responds to any help you provide with a demand for more, even if they voice appreciation at first
  • Has an answer for everything, and makes sure you realize that you don’t
  • Makes you feel confused, anxious, or “crazy” after interacting with them

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4 Things To Do While Waiting

WaitingNobody likes to wait. It’s frustrating. It feels cold. And it’s easy to let a seeming delay mess with your faith.

God sees time differently than we do. When He promises something, He will fulfill it – on His timetable. I believe God understands our frustration perfectly well. But somehow He never lets that interfere with His plans.

“Then why does He promise me something and make me wait? That’s even more painful than if He had not promised me anything at all!”

Perhaps Abraham felt that way when God promised him a son, and he had to wait 25 years before Isaac was born. (Genesis 15:5-6, 21:1-2) Perhaps David felt that way when God anointed him king, but it was about 17 years in coming. (1 Samuel 16:13, 2 Samuel 5:3-4) Perhaps the children of Israel felt that way in Egypt – for 400 years! (Genesis 15:18, Exodus 12:40)

Why does God promise us things, and then make us wait? And more importantly, what are we supposed to do while waiting?

I especially like the story of David in thinking about that question. David didn’t only get older during those years between the time Samuel anointed him and when he was crowned king of Israel. It was during those waiting years that he BECAME a king. It was the running from Saul, the writing of Psalms, the learning to lead his band of followers, and the trusting in God that made David what he was.

God does not promise us things so that we can sit back and wait. God promises us things to give us the faith and motivation necessary to develop into someone who can receive that promise!     Tweet that.

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Knowing God as Your Husband

Knowing God as Your Husband

If you’re a single woman, the idea of God as your husband may be a wonderful comfort. Or it may sound like a cruel joke. If you’re a married woman, it might also seem very confusing. What does that really mean?

I lived as a single woman for 48 years before meeting my husband, and I felt more than my share of loneliness. I asked “Why me?” more times than I can count. Every now and then I’d hear some other single lady talk about the comfort she found in knowing God as her Husband, and I’d wonder what she had that I didn’t. (See Isaiah 54:4-5)

But it really didn’t make much sense to me. I wanted a husband with skin on! I wanted someone to kiss me and hold me, to go to bed with at night and wake up with in the morning, to keep me from being lonely. I wanted someone to talk to when I needed. Although I became very good at taking care of myself, I thought it would be awfully nice to have someone take care of me every now and then.

And although I loved God, He doesn’t have skin on! How could He be those things to me?

My picture of God went through a lot of cleaning up and growing up during those years. And over time I learned what it was those ladies talked about when they said, “God is my Husband.” And I can honestly say that a few years before I met my husband Al, I too learned to know God in that way. It became the most important dimension of God’s work in my life.

And I still know Him in that way. If anything, being married has deepened my understanding of who God is to me. And I’m absolutely certain that this aspect of my relationship with God has made me a much happier and more successful wife.

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