Sister to Sister: Pop-off People

Do you know anyone who’s just liable to pop off in a rage at any given moment?…Someone you just dread being around because she just might snap at you for the least of offenses, or for nothing at all? Sometimes such a person will be fairly polite for an extended period of time, causing you to loosen your guard and open up to her–share some of your opinions–only to have her lash out once more, causing you to retreat again and making you want as little conversation with her as possible. 

I’m not an expert in dealing with such a person. But I’m getting more experience and I can think of a few lessons learned in what is, perhaps, not the prettiest way. 

First, I hope you don’t allow yourself to become embittered toward such a person. If you do, you lose the best chance to do something that builds patience (James 1: 2ff ) Instead of shouting or “smarting” back, try gently explaining that, while you do not deserve this kind of mistreatment, you refuse to lash out in anger against anyone and that you will do your best to continue to be nothing but kind regardless of how you are treated. Each time you respond in kindness, you’re building spiritual muscle that makes you stronger for the next encounter.

Second, resolve to pity that person. Just be glad you are not her. Be glad you are the recipient of ill treatment rather than the dispenser. Such a person is not very happy. Troublemakers are troubled people. Besides, you have the favor of the Lord if you do not seek to retaliate in such a scenario. Stay on His side. 

Thirdly, Read the last few verses of Romans 12 and think of some practical ways in your specific situation in which to heap coals of fire. In my instance, this person told me exactly what inexpensive item she’s looking for right now on eBay. She told me this just before exploding at me. Well, I can shop on eBay, too, and I may search for some coals. I just may find some (at a bargain price) to heap on her head. Perhaps it would help move her toward heaven. 

Fourthly, if you believe there might be a disorder or a chemical imbalance occurring that’s causing outbursts of anger, pray and consider toward finding someone who might be able to convince the angry sister (or brother) to seek medical or professional help for the problem. Often this is very difficult to accomplish (because everyone’s afraid to get close enough to the ticking time bomb to suggest it), but I have seen angry people modify or eliminate the problem with proper help. They’ve gone on to live happy and productive lives. Homes have been stabilized and marriages strengthened by medical intervention. It’s just a fact.

Fifthly, don’t put too much stock in a criticism if it is from lips that alternately yell and scowl and bear gnashing teeth. Go to an older, wiser, unbiased person and ask for an assessment before you enter the world of guilt. Most importantly, go to the Word.

Lastly, remember the lamb that was led to the slaughter, opening not his mouth (Is. 53:7 ). Remember he spoke from the cross saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” and made that forgiveness possible beginning at the following Pentecost (Acts 2:37,38). Remember your own state without that lamb’s sacrifice. (Your sin might not be unrighteous anger, but it is something!) Be sure that you are on-the-ready to forgive if penitence is achieved in the life of the angry sister. In fact, you should be in prayer for that penitence. 

Remember, the golden rule was meant for golden opportunities. When someone pops off at you, it’s a large and spontaneous and, yes, a golden opportunity to exhibit your faith in the command of Matthew 7:12.                                                                             

Sister to Sister: Digging Deep Digger’s Dozen Discoveries

unnamed-8Here’s a riveting sneak peek into the Adam-Christ comparison for Thursday night’s podcast. I hope you can join us. It’s here: http://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women. It’s at 7 Central. It’s live. It’s interactive. (That means you should sign in and participate!) It’s Ellen Anderson and me. But mostly, it’s a great time very much devoted to time in the Word. Here you go. I’m sure you thought of things I do not have listed. Let’s compare notes!

Comparisons of Adam and Christ. 

  • Both had miraculous beginnings.
  • Through the one, Adam, sin entered. Through the One, Christ, sin was overcome (Romans 5:12).
  • Adam secured death. Christ secured life (Romans 5:17; I Cor. 15:21,22).
  • Judgement came through Adam. The free gift came through Jesus (Romans 5:18).
  • Through Adam, in a sense, men were made sinners. Through Christ men were made righteous (Romans 5:19).
  • Adam was made a living soul. Christ was made a life-giving Spirit (I Cor. 15:45).
  • Adam was “earthy”. Christ was heavenly (I Cor. 15:47).
  • Christians bear the image of both Adam and Christ (I Corinthians 15:49).
  • Both had side opened while obtaining bride (Genesis 2; John 19:33,34).
  • Both of their brides had miraculous beginnings (Gen. 2; Acts 2).
  • Both became heads of brides (Gen 3:16; Eph. 5:23).
  • Both brides wore their names (Gen. 5:1,2; Acts 11:26).

Let’s talk, on the podcast, about which are types and which are antitypes. We’ll be sure we’re “good” on those definitions for future use.  Let’s also talk about the personal-from-Satan temptation that both Adam and Jesus encountered…the scope of each of those temptations and the response of each man.

I’m also excited to hear about people you influenced for good, whose response to your influence was not immediate. This is not bragging. This is encouraging. I need this. Can’t wait for your input this month. 

Finally, some Digging Deep sightings from around the country…at work, at home, at college, at the laundromat, at the hotel, in the stroller. Fun times!


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14207621_10210983276762580_3752320509305895901_o14231358_10103559472181395_7007005937851523112_oSome references and adaptations for the list from “Types and Shadows”, Revised Edition,  W. Gaddis Roy, Southern Christian University, 2004.

 

Sister to Sister: Orphans Among Us

soccer-mom-1The following is an excerpt from a letter I received from a young Christian sister this week. Small editions have been made for clarity and anonymity. I want to thank this sister for giving me a bit of a picture of the struggles and needs of young mothers raised outside the body. Can you help? I know, if you are an older woman in Christ, you can. But WILL you? Here’s the excerpt:
In Bible Class this morning I was shaken up.
One of our congregations ministers  filled in for our class today and talked about Titus 2. The class was mostly older retired men and women.
He was brave enough to ask questions that made it clear God EXPECTS the older to teach the younger which is not only teens but for those in their 50s to mentor those in their 20s and 30s. He called many in that audience to step up to the plate. 
His wife commented and talked about how an older Christian man impacted her and she cried thinking of how he was more to her life than her physical grandfather.
I was especially moved by the wisdom of God because I, personally, have sought older Christian women and, although it’s only two or three women, I have made them the mothers in Christ that I need in order to raise my children in God’s ways and love my husband as God expects; to keep going when I feel defeated and to be my  hope when I do not know if I can persevere. 
I don’t know if you realize that it is hard for those of us who are NOT from Christian families to fit into God’s family because we feel lost many times. We even feel like we are intruding because the ones we look up to have kids (physical families) of their own. We need what older women are to us and are thankful when we get to be in their lives. We are orphans of a sort with emotional baggage but we “cry out” to the people of God and are blessed when people respond.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

Just Monsters Under Your Bed

13226652_10153481188316384_2798949385439034883_nWe had six high school graduates in the congregation at West Huntsville this spring. It’s been great fun watching three of them grow up and getting to know the other three later in the game. They are all special to our West Huntsville family. Savanna is a pianist and vocalist. Ryan is a landscaper and a football player. Emma sings with her dad (and they are very talented!). Rachel likes to perform on stage and lead singing for women. Jacob is also a stage musician. Come to think of it, it was the year of musically talented graduates. They are all wonderful Christian people. 

But Nuris is a stand-out in some other ways. She’s thirty-six years old, a native El Salvadorian, and is the mother of four. You may remember reading about her baptism two years ago here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/crazy-happy. That weekend was even far better than this one. But still, this was a pretty special weekend for Nuris.  It was the culmination of years of studying the English language and then the geography, history and culture of the United States of America, along with some math and science. It took many days (years, actually) of searching, in a house with two small children, for quiet moments to study the materials needed for obtaining this high school diploma. I was there for a few tutoring sessions and we never found the quiet. We just yelled louder than the babies. 

I remember that day when Nuris first visited our services. She was one of those people who didn’t really “look like” a good prospect for conversion to Christ. After all, she could speak little English, she had a demanding newborn baby, her husband wasn’t with her, and she told me she did not want to study on that very first day I met her. Still, I gave her a card with my phone number and told her to let me know if she changed her mind. She did,

She changed her mind, her life, her religious affiliation, her marriage, her parenting and her spiritual family. She changed her eternal status from lost to saved. She was ultimately baptized into Christ for the remission of her sins, becoming a member of His church. Her daughters were given the gift of having a Christian mother. 

With the help of God and many people, now Nuris is a high school graduate. She is the one who received the standing ovation last Friday night at the North Alabama Christian School graduation ceremony. She is the one who requested the song “ They Word is a Lamp unto My Feet” for the music for her graduation slide show.  She is the one whose extra-curricular activities were not softball, guitar and Lads to Leaders, but diapers, dishes, bills and emergency C-sections. She is the one who is over-the-moon excited about a cap and gown.

People can change. They do it all the time. People can change minds, hearts, lifestyles, directions and destinies. Many who are reading the blog, though, do not need to change directions or make big lifestyle transformations . You just need encouragement to stay the course…to finish the race in some of the darkest spiritual days in American history. You need encouragement when you look at the presidential ballot, the restrooms at Target. the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Vatican, the Barna surveys and the pornography and gambling industries. You need encouragement as you empty the over-flowing Diaper Genie (in your sleep) or administer meds to the Alzheimer patient or explain to a four-year-old why you can’t go to the movie about his favorite super-hero. You need to be reminded of the inherent brevity of trials and the impending beginning of eternal perfection. The land of good and right and health and rest is just around the corner for all of those who stay the course. 

I know you have friends who’ve decided that the Bible is for the uneducated, that the old-fashioned religion is for simpletons, and that there really is no eternal truth. They make all kinds of claims about mistakes in the Word and errors committed by the Savior. They make personal accusations about your sincerity and motives as you try to reach out to them and others with the gospel. But be encouraged. The day is swiftly approaching when all of the mockers will bow before the God who put original life and breath in them (Romans 14:11). You will be there as he judges the living and the dead (II Timothy 4:1). You will experience the final victory when sin is permanently banished never to plague you again. 

So for now, let’s praise him for the window of opportunity for change. Let’s ask people to study His Word with us. Let’s pray for His will in this place of our temporary citizenship. Let’s love the fellowship of His like-minded people. Let’s bask in the peace that passes understanding that comes as we turn our sorrows and petitions heavenward (Philippians 4:4-9). Let’s turn a bright light on our fears and realize they are just a child’s monsters under the bed. Our Father will come in and suddenly they will be gone. His Word is the great expositor of evil and the final rewarder of His own. Claim the joy along with Nuris. Sing her favorite Psalm today!

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Nothing will I fear as long as You are near. Please be with me to the end.”

From the Archives: A Bird in a Basket

images-1This past Saturday I spoke at a ladies seminar in the state of California. It was a great day–rewarding in lots of ways for me. It was a stormy weekend in my home state of Alabama, while sunny and calm in California. Sometimes it’s just a little serendipity when I get to slip away from the storms (in my mind and in the sky) and enjoy a space of calmness. I actually got to sit on a tiny sunny townhouse patio and visit with a sister I’d never met before. Two small birds live in a basket on that patio and I stood about two feet from Mr. or Mrs. Bird (not sure which) and clicked his/her photo. (I really wish I had brought along my Canon rather than just my cell phone.) I’m told that those birds come back each year and have begun to feel so comfortable in that basket that sits among some artificial flowers on a plant stand, that they don’t even bother to stir when people walk all around them. Before the evening was over, we had five people within a very few feet of the nest and no panic in the nest whatsoever. My host told me that one of that family of birds plucked one of those artificial flowers one year, took it around to her front yard and used it in the building of it’s own nest in a front yard tree.My host, Mrs. Maggie, knows a lot about the birds that feather that nest each year. But she cannot be sure it is the same birds year after year. She pays close attention to their patterns of nest-sitting. She knows that it is both a male and female that exchange places sitting, for she looks through her kitchen window (only a few inches away) and sees them swapping places. She knows that baby birds are born there each spring because there are a few fleeting days between the hatching and the flying when she enjoys watching them grow. All she has to do is keep putting the basket out for them year after year and they check-in as if they know their upscale room is reserved.

But did you ever think about how that God, from somewhere as far away as heaven and yet closer than that kitchen window does know whether it’s the same birds year after year? He knows whether or not the original nest sitters have survived the winter. In fact, he will know the exact moment that the bird in my photograph falls never to fly again.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father (Matthew 10:29).

The passage goes on to ask the rhetorical question: “Aren’t you more valuable than many sparrows?” God knows and cares about the nest home of those birds and its inhabitants. He knows about my home and its inhabitants, too. He knows that one day, like the sparrow I too, will fall. But I am of more value than many sparrows and I, who have never before taken wing will, on that “glad morning when this life is o’er, fly away.” Praise the God Who cares for the tiny bird in the basket, but cares infinitely more for me.

Today! Women of Scandal

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Women of Scandal pre-release happens today. I don’t think it will be in the bookstores for a couple of days, but it is available today here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Women-of-Scandal/p/65464960/category=3290197

I never thought I’d write a book with the word “scandal” in the title. That seems rather…well, scandalous. But this is the fourth book in the Crown of Creation series. It’s a quartet (for now) of study books that finds practical applications for women of God today in the lives of Old Testament women. The series began with Eve and is chronologically working its way through the Word. But these women of First Samuel and Second Samuel took this writer by surprise. The first chapter of this new book is about a woman who went into labor and died in childbirth upon hearing that her blasphemous husband had been slain in battle. The next chapter is about a woman whose husband tried to kill their son. Next came a group of singing woman, whose lyrics were so incendiary that they incited jealousy in the palace, which ultimately led to attempted murder. Chapter four was about a father who offered the hand of his daughter in marriage as  part of a twisted plot to have a rival killed. This was followed by a woman who sneaked her husband out the window to save his life and then placed an image under the covers in her bed. In the same chapter, you’ll find a man walking and weeping for forty-five miles in pursuit of his wife who is leaving him for her first and long-lost love. Women of Scandal was a title that just floated to the top in some extremely polluted literary waters. 

It’s one of the great blessings of my life to get to write about the Bible. It helps me sharpen my focus on heaven. But I cannot ever really take myself very seriously as a writer. After all, I’m just making some simple comments about the Book of Books—the one written by the finger of God. The very subject matter of my books (not to mention my own inadequacies) makes those books pale in comparison. My prayer is that Scandal will be something from which women of God today can read and learn; not something in which we will be involved. Scandal, after all, is the opposite of His peace that surpasses our understanding (Philippians 4:7).  

The first three copies will be complimentary and will go to Scarlet Mobley, to the library of the Maple Hill Church, and to Susan Brehm. All of these ladies participated in the Digging Deep podcast earlier this week. So if the three of you will email me at byhcontest@gmail.com with your street addresses, your copies will be on their way!

May Women of Scandal be a small tool for His glory. May His people be tethered to His Will and scandal-free till He comes to claim His own. Blessings on your Bible study. It’s the most important reading of this lifetime!