Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's the Big Deal about Dwelling on the Past?

I was doing my devotions today and I thought it was so good I wanted to repost it for everyone. How many of us have been guilty of this??

What's the Big Deal about Dwelling on the Past?

BY: Melanie Chitwood
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!"
Isaiah 43:18,19a (NIV)

A young married woman unloaded her marriage frustrations on a radio call-in show. Her husband had forgotten what the word romance meant. He never thought to bring her a sweet card or to plan a date. He didn't thank her or even notice her hard work, like laundry and keeping the house clean, along with working full-time.
I suspected her thoughts were leading her to a dangerous place. Sure enough, the young wife confirmed this with her next statement: After two years of marriage, she wondered if she'd made the right decision about this marriage. Maybe she should have married the guy she dated right after college, the one she regretted letting slip away from her.
Her fantasies of what might have been were leading her to a dangerous place of dwelling on the past. Thoughts of the past, or as today's Scripture puts it, "former things," can bombard our marriage mindset in damaging ways. See if any of these thoughts ring a bell:
  • I wonder if I made the right decision about my marriage?
  • I wish my husband were romantic (attentive or understanding) the way he was when we were dating.
  • What happened to the great listener I used to have in my husband? Now all he wants to do is play sports or watch TV.
  • Even though it was years ago, I just can't forgive the way he hurt my feelings.
  • This isn't what I imagined marriage would be. What happened to all our dreams?
How can dwelling on the past damage our marriage? When we dwell on the past, we're robbed of the treasures of the present. We don't see the gifts God's given us right now in our husbands and marriage. Maybe he doesn't bring you flowers anymore, but he works hard every day to provide. He doesn't thank you for the clean laundry because he's busy with a house project he hopes will make you smile. He knows he made mistakes in the past, but he's trying hard to change.
The young wife on the radio found the world's answer to her marital frustrations. The radio hostess agreed that this husband was clueless and this young wife should question staying in this marriage.
I wanted to scream, Stop right there! You're going down a dangerous path! Maybe he wasn't a good husband. But I suspect he was just a human husband, one with flaws and shortcomings. Just like the husband had plenty to learn about marriage, so did this young wife.
God has a better answer for what to do when we find ourselves dwelling on the past in a detrimental way. He says, "See, I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:19) In other words, God asks us to redirect our focus to the good things He can and will do in our marriages. As we continue in Isaiah we come to a question we need to ask ourselves, "Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (43:19).
God's is asking, Do you see the good things I'm doing right now... in your life or marriage? Pay attention or you're going to miss out!
To redirect our focus on the new things God is doing in our marriages, we can pray about our marriage mindset, asking God to help us see the blessings, not the drawbacks. We can choose to think about how our marriage has gotten better, and look forward to the future we have together.
Reading this devotion may have triggered thoughts of some unresolved issues in your marriage. This isn't meant to minimize the bigger issues you might be wrestling with in your marriage. These issues may need to be resolved before you can move forward. Pray about it individually and as a couple, talk with your spouse, and seek godly counsel. These steps might be necessary before you can see God "making a way in the desert" (Isaiah 43:19).
Dear Lord, You make all things new. Will You give me new eyes to see the good things I sometimes miss? Help me not to dwell on the past but to focus on the present and future. You are making a way, Lord, and I trust You with my heart, my husband and my marriage. Help us deal with any issues that are damaging our relationship, so we can appreciate the new things You're doing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What if a prostitute or _________ came into your church?

Want you to think about something: 
Luke 7:36-50 says:
36 One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. 37 Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume 38 and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” 40 Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
41 “Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. 42 Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”
“That’s right,” said Jesus.
44 Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. 46 You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. 47 Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” 48 Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.” 49 That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!” 50 He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
How do you think the church would respond today if this women or ____________ (fill in the blank) came into the church? Dressed (well half naked, b/c she was a prostitute) and did something to worship God completely different from the way we "Normally DO THINGS" in the church?:
Please comment below:

A Lifestyle of Worship????!!!??? Part 1

So today in church I was led to discover something, that I really didn't like.
You see, at the church we are attending they have the children stand in the front for worship.
My husband and I were sitting a few rows behind them so I could see everything they were (or weren't in my case) doing.
I am ashamed to say that my kids (pastors kids) were the only 2 NOT standing.
Sigh.... A proud moment in a mothers life. LOL!
Then to make it worse, my son was pulling his jacket up over his head and playing around the whole time.
hmmm... what's wrong with this picture?  Now, there were other children that were playing around, so my children were not the only ones, but I guess when your a pastor, you kinda hope that they will led by example?
In the car my husband and I were talking about what we saw in church. I guess I / we haven't done enough to teach our children about worship.
How many of us have heard the saying "Worship is not just on Sunday mornings, its a lifestyle"?
I have, like a hundred times. But I guess (well, actually, I KNOW) I could do better, to be an example to my kids.
I do listen to only christian music, there are ALOT of really good artists that sound just like most mainstream music. Lecrae, Group 1 Crew, Red, etc..... I play it all the time, and the lyrics are really, really good! I've cried on many occasions listening to Lecrae (who is a christian rap artist) in my car. But maybe instead of just turning my ipod on shuffle when I get in my car, I can put on Fee or Desperation Band.
I will be following up with this blog, to share some practical steps we can take as parents to help teach our children about worship and living a lifestyle of worship.
As well as, to let you know how it works in the Holden household.
I encourage you to live a lifestyle of worship in your own home as well.... :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Miracle of Life.....

This December I should have delivered my third baby. (I miscarried back in June.) But this wasn't my first miscarriage. Ive actually had 4 (possibly 5) in the past 3 years or so. 
My husband asked me why I haven't written about it yet. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to say, how to say it and I don't want to expose some of these VERY personal thoughts that I have experienced over it all. This is a subject that is still very hurtful and hard for me at times to talk about.
People are so quick to judge you. They say REALLY STUPID things; mainly out of ignorance or just not knowing what to say. Sometimes there's nothing to say. Just a offer of prayer, support and love.
I came across a website the other day that really described some of the ways I was feeling.
Some days are particularly hard. People tell me I have children, why should I be so discouraged about not having more? As though the presence of my kids will take away the yearning in my heart for a child whom I feel the absence of. It doesn't. No more than the presence of remaining children replaces the children I have lost.
I have carried children to term before. I know my body is capable of it, and yet it stubbornly refuses to cooperate now. I took it for granted, the ability to conceive a life and hold it inside me long enough to beget a child to raise. I no longer do. I fully recognize the wondrous miracle that it is.
Infertility hurts. It does not matter when it happens. If the desire to bring a child into the world has entered your mind, filled your thoughts, and tugged at your heart, the denial of that vision seems very personal. ....Why should the Lord deny me the ability?
Infertility strikes all walks of life. There is less sympathy for those with less affluence, yet they hurt just as deeply, with less ability to seek technological intervention. The well to do suffer too, and often all the resources in the world cannot provide the miracle they desire.
Life marches on around them, oblivious to the monthly cycle of hope, discouragement, and then depression as they determine not to even hope again, and then back to hope again simply because as long as you live you have to hope or you die, even though you wish you could stop hoping so that the cycle of disappointment would stop. They feel to cry, as Rachel, "Give me children, else I die!". But the cries stay within their heart, often unspoken even to God, the full depth of sorrow held down deep and perhaps not even fully acknowledged to themselves.

This lady was describing exactly how I felt. As a women we have that motherly instinct to want to have children. I was asked "Well, why is it so important to you that you have more kids?" 
I can't explain to you why. Why is it so important to you that you achieve your life long goals or dreams and ambitions? Its just a longing in my heart, and it wont go away. 
Having a child is a miracle! Its such an amazing gift! I LOVE my children! I cant believe that God blessed me with such amazing human beings! Its such a awesome responsibility!
God's peace has really helped me through alot, though I have been angry at him, yelled a few times at him, wondering why he would allow this to happen to me! I know that there's a reason for all this. At this present time I cant pinpoint what? or why? I could have died? It could have suffered a lifetime of being sick?
At this present moment I feel like a child that has been offered a piece of candy, to only have it taken away before I can have it.
One day I'll look back at this and see the miracle that God has done in my life. Until then I just wait. Holding on to that truth.....
If you've been through a miscarriage, don't be afraid to talk about it. Holding it all in doesn't help. Theres people out there who have been through what your going through. 
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