God has a far bigger plan for our life than we could ever imagine.
Setting Boundaries with Difficult People (pg 14)
Happy New Year. May God richly bless and keep you and yours this coming year. Join me today on Lifeline Radio with host Neil Boron and LISTEN LIVE as we discuss how to make God-honoring New Year Resolutions by setting healthy boundaries and making intentional SANITY choices. Begin this new season by claiming God’s promises for your life and learn how to live in the fullness of love, joy, grace, and peace in the coming year. Streaming live online at WDCXradio.com on Thursday, January 2 from 3:00-4:30 PM (CST).
See Day 12 on this blog (Saturday, December 14, 2013) for information on Pearl Girls and why I’m sharing The 12 Pearls of Christmas with our Setting Boundaries Books blog community over the next 12 days.
Remember, the Pearl Girls are giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter the CONTEST now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.
God bless and keep you this Christmas and always.
When my wife was little, her family was Amish. Barn raisings, buggies, high-stepping horses, shoofly pies—the whole postcard. Later, they left that life and became mainstream farmers. The suspenders and bonnets were gone, but they remained hard-working, no-nonsense, sweep-the-porch folks. As good-natured a family as homemade jam and bread.
I grew up taking in the city. Mom and I would hop the streetcar into downtown Baltimore. Lights, crowds, noise, action—the busier, the better. Birthdays were a big thing, Christmas, bigger yet. Whoop it up. Break some eggs, make an omelet.
My wife and I met in college. I first saw Verna from across the cafeteria. Popular as a lemonade stand in summer. Prettier than an evening meadow blinking with fireflies. I was hooked. Proposed on the beach. We walked the aisle, started life together.
Verna kept everything worthwhile from her childhood and folded the rest into a drawer. Worked circles around any woman you’d know. Line dried the wash, taught the kids, pinched the pennies. Joined me in whatever hoopla I wanted, but—in her mother’s meat-and-potatoes tradition—NEVER got exotic in the kitchen . . .
. . . until one December.
Wishing to please—wanting some memories for the kids—she found a recipe book. Brimming with color photos. Promises of the perfect Christmas. The kind, no doubt, her husband recalled from urban days of yore.
Sugar plums in her head, practical impulses stuffed away in an apron pocket, she purchased the ingredients to yuletide bliss. A concoction to bless the family forever.
The evening has arrived. The fortunate are assembled about the table. There is to be a holiday surprise:
“Festive Yule Log.”
Candles aglow, faces upturned. The platter of glory is borne to the table. Mother seated. Nod given.
Trembling forks sink into the first sampling mouthful. Eyes closed for concentration. The pregnant pause. . . . A searching for words. The furtive glances. The first stifled chortle. Then,
Oh, the hooting and howling.
The slappings on the table.
Centered on the table, the Yule Log sulks—rolled in a fine gravel posing as crushed nuts. A taste akin to cream cheese blended with toothpaste—perhaps Crest, no, Colgate. As if sautéed in soy sauce, glued into shape by an application of Crisco. The look of a food item suspected of disease, held in quarantine at Customs.
Verna smiles weakly. Rises. Whisks the mistake into exile. All the while carols from the record player begin straying off-key . . . and Misters Currier & Ives are ushered to the backyard, blindfolded, and shot.
Solomon foresaw that many designs for Christmas Eve would go awry. Why else would he write:
“Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know
what a day may bring forth”?
Or . . .
“You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose
Proverbs 19:21 NLT
God has bigger plans for you than the perfect dinner. That’s why he lets things go wrong. He’s saving your appetite for the perfect eternity. He notices you smitten with this short life,
feeling it slip through your fingers,
trying to shake a snow-globe Christmas
out of every December.
The true holiday magic is reserved for heaven. Every delight down here is a mere taste and teaser.
Knowing that, doesn’t it ease the pressure just a bit as you flip through recipes on the 24th—biting your lip . . . pondering a go at that Festive Yule Log?
(By the way, Verna recovered nicely.)
Steven Estes is a pastor who has known “better Decembers with my family than either Currier or Ives,” but also understands a gray Christmas. A Better December draws on Estes’ twenty-three years of counseling church members through the holiday season as well his other writings on the topic of human suffering. He teaches a preaching class at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) where he completed his M.Div and Th.M. degrees. Estes is a conference speaker and on the board of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). Estes is the author of Called to Die (the story of slain missionary Chet Bitterman), and co- author (with friend Joni Eareckson Tada) of When God Weeps and A Step Further. He and his wife, Verna, have eight children. ￼Learn more about Estes and his books at www.steveestes.net.
For over sixty years his message of hope and healing has filled stadiums and major venues all over the earth, and his warm, assuring voice has reached out to billions of individuals and families on every continent through radio and television. Now beloved evangelist Dr. Billy Graham is embarking on one of his most historic efforts, My Hope America, partnering with individuals, churches, and ministries to reach out to neighbors, communities, and the nation with the simple message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
This very special thirty-minute broadcast will feature impacting testimonies from notable people whose lives have been changed through faith in Christ, along with a powerful message from Dr. Graham.
You can view “My Hope America With Billy Graham” on TBN November 7th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Eastern). To view the Spanish-language version of the program tune in to TBN’s Enlace Hispanic network November 7th (8 p.m. Pacific), November 8th (8 p.m. Pacific), or November 9th (5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Pacific).
In February of 2013, Mary DeMuth wrote a blog post that touched a nerve in readers around the world. Her post, “The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be,” went viral and sparked an outpouring of comments and responses. The post was based on her experience and perspective of being sexually abused as a little girl—of having her boundaries violated in a way that changed the course of her entire life. This post has become the foundation of a powerful new book by Mary titled: Not Marked.
As contemporary women, we have many responsibilities and tasks. We are single, married, divorced, or widowed. We are students, educators, volunteers, or retirees. We are employees or employers. We may be homemakers, wives, parents, and grandparents. We could be caregivers of our aging parents or our spouses with health challenges. Some of us are raising our grandchildren.
We take care of husbands, kids, houses, cars, cats, and dogs. We cook, shop, handle the budget, pay bills, and conduct household maintenance and upkeep. Many women do all of this while also working outside the home full-time or part-time.
We wear many hats, yet underneath all of this doing, being, and accomplishing, we are daughters of God, called to guard our hearts, fulfill the purpose of God, and fulfill our purpose as His ambassadors, His representatives. That is the core of who we are.
How about you? Think about your own situation. Ask yourself some questions you may never have asked before.
- Does God want me to take responsibility for individuals in my life who aren’t taking responsibility for themselves?
- Does God want me to pull out my checkbook every time my adult child gets into a financial bind?
- Does God want me to endure fear and pain under physical, verbal, or emotional abuse?
- Does God want me to put my health at risk by assuming responsibilities that aren’t really mine, simply because I’ve not been able to say no?
(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Pages 47-48)
Do you ever wonder what the women in the Bible would think of our world today?
Thelma Wells (aka: Mama T) is launching a series of three WONDER WOMAN conferences beginning this Saturday, July 27 in Carrollton, Texas. But you can also access these events via a live Internet stream! These are very unique conferences, as each talented speaker will be sharing a powerful woman in the Bible in tandem with their own message and testimony. Thelma’s mission for this unique outreach is “To empower mature women AND encourage the next generation and millenniums to strive to achieve the great legacy of powerful women celebrated in the Bible and within our society today.”
Tune in TONIGHT at 7 PM (CST) for a FREE SNEAK PEEK at Zipporah. Please share this message with your friends.
I was unable to attend the gala awards banquet last evening at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference held at the beautiful Ridgecrest Conference Center in South Carolina. But I was watching the program LIVE from a hotel room via an exceptional high quality online Internet stream provided by Lifeway and Crossway Books. Conference Director Alton Gansky and Contest Director Eva Marie Everson did a spectacular job MC’ing the event.
Words cannot describe the awe and honor I felt as I heard that Setting Boundaries with Food had won the Selah First Place award in the Christian Living category. And when it was also named as the 2013 Selah Book of the Year, I was sitting in my hotel room crying and thanking God for this incredible honor.
I’ll be heading out of my hotel in a few minutes to go to the Family Talk studio here in Colorado Springs for an interview with Dr. James Dobson and Ryan Dobson, and I’m excited to be able to share this 2013 Selah Award news with them, as we’re talking about this very book today!
God has such an incredible way of orchestrating His plans and purpose and as we all strive to set healthy boundaries and maintain SANITY in our lives let’s never forget to give Him all of the honor and glory for everything in life…even the challenging times …because there is a far greater purpose for the journey we walk than we could ever imagine as we’re walking it.
When He placed the SANITY message on my heart so many years ago, I had no idea the plans He had for the outreach. None of us can know what is in His heart, all we can do is trust in Him, have faith that He is in control, and walk obediently in His will and Word.
Thank you, readers, for your support, encouragement and prayers.
In their book, Being Christian, Exploring Where You, God, and Life Connect, authors Stephen Arterburn and John Shore address four things every Christian will have at some point in life: answers, guidance, confirmation, and inspiration. They address a question that has laid heavy on the heart of many believers: Does God Have a Plan for Me?
He certainly does. God’s plan is for you to accept the fact that He loves you, has always loved you, and will always love you. God’s plan for you is to trust in the truth of who He is, and in what He has done for you. It’s for you to open yourself up to the wondrous powers of the Holy Spirit within you.
One of Satan’s most insidious strategies to attack and influence the children of God has been to keep them too involved with challenging relationships to care about a relationship with the One who cares the most—Jesus Christ.
Clearly, God wants us to be in loving relationships, starting with Himself. Yet relationships are being destroyed, hearts broken, and families fractured as good Christian men and women forget what God has said about the most important priorities in life—to love Him first and to love our neighbors. This is the very essence of the gospel message.
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40.
Step One: Love the Lord Your God
It starts by acknowledging Jesus Christ as our Savior—our Lord.
Ryan Northcutt is the pastor of a small (but rapidly growing) community church in Haltom City, Texas. Pastor Ryan talked passionately about a personal God who understands what it’s like to live in this world—to be involved with people, challenges, troubles, and trials. He said:
We can’t do it on our own. When we trust in ourselves it’s too hard. If we rely on only ourselves we will be left wanting. When we are separated from God we feel it—we may not know what is missing from our life—but we know something is. When that something becomes a relationship with the Lord, it’s impossible to live the same way. When our relationship with the Lord grows—we grow.
It’s not about what we have to do to get to God, for by grace we are all saved. It’s about what Jesus did for us to get to us.
Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Difficult People, Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships by Allison Bottke © 2011. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.
Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.