Posts Tagged With: Scripture

“Love and Respect”

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinkin’ 
What a grand world this would be 
If the men were all transported 
Far beyond the Northern Sea! 

Then Reuben comes back with his rebuttal to Rachel. And round and round they go. Truly–where they’ll stop nobody knows!

This children’s song has been around since 1871, training us in the war of the sexes. I learned it in grade school and sang it with great fervor.

This war is exhausting, depleting, diminishing.

Did God really make us to go two by two, men and women together (stop, don’t start arguing here, that’s not my topic) to eternally be at war with each other? I think not. God made us that two-by-two way. And remember, He doesn’t make mistakes.

Ephesians 5:33 “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

This scripture is the foundation text for “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Eggerichs says we get on the Crazy Cycle and don’t (won’t) get off. Without love from him, she reacts without respect. Without respect from her, he reacts without love.

Then the kicker—somebody has to break the cycle—change thinking and behavior. (See a previous post, “A Little More Couple Psychology.”

“But…but…,” we say. No buts. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Change anything in a relationship dynamic and you’ve got change. It may get worse before it gets better, as you pick up those spilled apples, but don’t quit if the change is in the direction you want to go.

Peaceable Kingdom

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A Child-Like Heart

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

A little child is—jDSCF1003oyful, guileless, trusting, dependent, eager, forgiving, curious, fascinated, playful, fearless, innocent, loving.

Are those the qualities required to receive the kingdom of God?

But what if joy, innocence, and all the rest, are wrenched from the toddler by thoughtless, self-centered parents?

Some of my psychotherapy clients are wary of relationships, don’t feel much self-worth, and are afraid God won’t pay them any more attention than their parents did.

So what does Jesus mean when He says to receive His kingdom “like a little child?” We adults can’t just set aside the weight of life: can’t cut out the thoughts and feelings burned in our brains that make love and trust a challenge.

Picture a child reaching up to Mommy or Daddy.

We were all born with that innate need to be picked up and held. Then picture some big, I mean really big, hands reaching down to pick you up—fulfilling your need.

I’m no biblical scholar, but it seems to me Jesus is saying simply, “Reach up to me. Come.”

O come, little children, O come one and all,
To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so small,
God’s son for a gift has been sent you this night
To be your redeemer, your joy and delight.

from the Christmas carol, “O Come, Little Children”

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Defeated or Devotional

The semifinalist list for Operation First Novel 2013, a writing contest sponsored by The Christian Writers Guild, came out this week. I was not on the list.

After the hot flush of disappointment and disbelief subsided, (I wanted it so badly!), my next thought was, “OK, Lord, now what?”

It’s no good pouting—that’s not going to get my novel published—so I might as well learn from this experience and move on.

I’m galvanized to action. There are agents to query, another Christian writers organization to join, another contest to enter. More revisions.

This rejection comes at just the time when my Facebook page has taken a turn that’s amazed me. Like Henry Blackaby says, “Look what God is doing and join Him.” There are women joining who live in “closed countries.” That’s thrilling!

So is this contest rejection a defeat?

NO!

It’s a devotional.

From the beginning I’ve said, if God is in this writing endeavor, it will be what He wants it to be. But that also means I have to learn the lessons He sets before me and not mess it up. He can, after all, find other vessels to use.

Two scriptures light my path right now, both given to me by friends.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4

A bruised reed he will not break… Isaiah 42:3

Oh, I cling to the idea of being granted my heart’s desire, but I know that doesn’t mean getting what I want. The more I align my heart’s desire with His heart’s desire, the closer I’ll come to fulfilling my purpose for Him.

And this bruise to my ego and my desires is really nothing in the scheme of things. The Isaiah verse was poured like balm over me by a family friend who prayed my family through the deepest of deep hurts. The Lord will not break me. Or you.

Would you like to share scripture verses that have encouraged you when you stood on the cliff of disappointment?

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Take Shelter

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“There’s No Place Like Home”

How do the ruby slippers relate to God? Follow this yellow brick road with me, and you’ll see.

ruby slippers on the yellow brick road“There’s no place like home.”

For years I’ve said that if I clicked my ruby slippers, I’d end up in the Highlands of Scotland. To me that’s meant that I absolutely love it there—feel at home—long to be there.

Home is where the heart is. One of those trite, but true sayings.

We think of our heart as the seat or expression of our emotions. Really, our heart is what we think, since thinking drives our behavior. Our emotions are then a byproduct of thinking and behavior. In other words, our heart is what we think, where we put our attention.

When you think of home, do you think of a place, people—where you live? The Bible makes numerous references to “home” as a person’s dwelling place.

Here’s another definition of home as a noun: a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.

But the definition I like best is of  “to home in on”: return by instinct to its territory after leaving it, move or be aimed toward (a target or destination) with great accuracy, focus attention on.ruby slippers

Now we’re getting to God. When my attention is off of God, when my mind wanders in the world, takes the wrong turn on the yellow brick road—I’m lost—homesick. I don’t care what it is that pulls me away, I’m still pulled away. Not home.

To be at home with God I picture being in Mary’s place, sitting at Jesus’s feet. When Martha complains to the Lord about her sister, Jesus responds: “Martha, Martha,” (or insert your own name) the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41,42) Mary is focussing her attention on Jesus.

photoThese are my ruby slippers. My granddaughter gave them to me for Christmas. I squealed with delight when I opened her gift. But I have to keep the slippers in my closet because one of my cats likes to kick-fight with them, and I’m afraid the slippers will lose. Every time I look at my ruby slippers I think of Home. “There’s no place like home.”

Worshipping the Lord, paying attention to Him, thinking about Him, aiming toward Him. That’s Home.

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Lilias Trotter Devotional

Screen shot 2013-02-13 at 8.30.23 PM

He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

Taken from “A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter”, compiled and edited by Miriam Huffman Rockness.

Desert Teaching

…And then the desert hills took on their pink and blue afternoon lights and shadows. One moment’s glory of sunset flashed out between the showers, after we got in, shading the desert from the mauve of the distant hills to the flame color of the cliffs of the riverbed in the foreground—a chord of color that is simply unpaintable and indescribable and unimaginable.

Oh, the desert is lovely in its restfulness. The great brooding stillness over and through everything is so full of God. One does not wonder that He used to take His people out into the wilderness to teach them.

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Writing Contest Results

The five-month wait is over. I now have my score and critique in hand—the results of having entered my first writing contest. It’s been quite an experience so far. If you’re an aspiring writer, I highly recommend putting your work out there for judgement. Sounds ominous, but it’s a great way to improve in our craft.

I entered Operation First Novel, a contest sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. In the cover letter accompanying my critique, Jerry Jenkins encouraged entrants. He reminded us that many writers never get this far, actually completing a manuscript, and he spurred us to “press on”, (Philippians 3:12).

Having read that, holding my breath, I turned to my score and critique. I had mistakenly thought the score was based on 100 points, so you can guess my reaction when I saw my score that was actually based on 70 points. A 30 point difference in expectation caused a moment of angst before I caught my error.

Overall, I didn’t do too badly. I’ve participated in countless auditions and contests, so this is a familiar place—though I’ve never had to wait five months for results! (I’m of the school of thought some days that says instant gratification isn’t fast enough.)

My judge wrote helpful comments and suggestions for each of the seven criteria. The judge also had plenty of positive feedback which confirmed that I’m on the right track. I don’t know where the track’s going yet, but it’s the right one to be on.

So, with critique in hand, I’ve started the revision process—the fourth pass through. The judge suggested a resource book on revision: The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman. Writers, trust me, you need this book.

I feel good, even a little exhilarated. I’m the Little Engine That Could. I’m pressing on. Revision. Agent hunt…

When I feel discouraged, thinking I started this writing game too late, I remember what an 80-something friend said, “but you wouldn’t have had the maturity to write then like you do now.”

Press on to take hold of the prize. Win the race!

Be blessed to be a blessing.

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Buck Up, Little Camper

We all need encouragement now and then. I think this seldom-used, maybe archaic phrase is so cute. “Buck up, little camper.” I picture a little kid getting a parental chuck under the chin. The kid’s lower lip pulls back in place, and parent and child smile warmly at each other. “Now run along and play,” says the parent.

This picture of grandpa and grandchild that I took in Mevagissey, Cornwall, England, has that sweetness about it. (Hurray for telephoto lenses.)

Today I read Christian author Jan Watson‘s blog. She talked about “recharging” in God’s Word when your battery’s low.

Here’s the verse I’ve been plugged into lately, reading it over and over—Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I relax when I get to “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I’m reminded that I can’t get there myself and therefore don’t have to. Ah, what a thirst-quenching drink.

Then, since we are what we think, I repeat “trust, joy, peace, hope” to drill those words into my thinking and thence into my doing.

But what do you do when you’re too tired to even drag yourself to the well? Tired unto tired out. No self-condemnation, no despair. Lift your chin toward your heavenly Father for that encouraging, “Buck up, little camper.” And lean your tired head into the Father’s hand and rest.

* * * * *

BTW—to you women who love Christian historical fiction, you MUST read Jan Watson. Her series starts with Troublesome Creek. Jan is clearly anointed to write for us.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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