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The Patience of Job

the_patience_of_job

You have probably heard this phrase frequently. When someone seems to be able to tolerate what seems to be intolerable they are often told, “You have the patience of Job” Although I don’t consider myself a very patient person, I have been told that I have the patience of Job. Here’s the thing. I think we miss some of the elements of the patience of Job. We have the tendency to idealize that he never complained, never got angry. If that was the case, not even Job had the patience of Job.

Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The key wordsimages for me in this statement, without getting angry or upset and the fact that there are no screams, lamps flying or inappropriate language doesn’t mean a person is not angry or upset.

I’ve read the book of Job a little over three times. There are passages where I pushed my bible to the side fearing that just the fact that I read some of his remarks towards God was going to make a thunder come down from the skies.  Here are some examples but you have to read the book, there are a lot more:

  •  Job 3:11 “Why didn’t I die at birth, my first breath out of the womb my last?”
  • Job 6: 8-9 “All I want is an answer to one prayer, a last request to be honored:
    Let God step on me—squash me like a bug, and be done with me for good”
  • Job 7: 11-16 ““And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table;
        my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest. Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
        the way you quiet the sea and still the storm? If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better.
        A little nap will lift my spirits,’ you come and so scare me with nightmares
        and frighten me with ghosts that I’d rather strangle in the bedclothes
        than face this kind of life any longer. I hate this life! Who needs any more of this?
        Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing but smoke.”
  • Job 9:21-24“Believe me, I’m blameless. I don’t understand what’s going on.
        I hate my life! Since either way it ends up the same, I can only conclude
        that God destroys the good right along with the bad. When calamity hits and brings sudden     death, he folds his arms, aloof from the despair of the innocent. He lets the wicked take over running the world; he installs judges who can’t tell.”
  • Job 10:1 “I can’t stand my life—I hate it! I’m putting it all out on the table, all the bitterness of my life—I’m holding back nothing.”
  • Job 16:8-10 “God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family! You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune, showing the world that you’re against me. My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror, a mute witness to your treatment of me. Your anger tears at me, your teeth rip me to shreds, your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!”
  • Job 17:6 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—people spit in my face”
  • Job 21:4 “It’s not you I’m complaining to—it’s God. Is it any wonder I’m getting fed up with his silence?”
  • Job 23:1“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair!”
  • Job 30:20-23 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer! I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare! You’ve turned into my tormenter—you slap me around, knock me about. You raised me up so I was riding high and then dropped me, and I crashed. I know you’re determined to kill me, to put me six feet under.”

So once again, if your image of the patience of Job is this quiet guy who took everything in longsuffering not getting ever upset, go read the book again, that was not in the one I read. I don’t know about you but I read a lot of griping and complaining. If someone is saying constantly that he hates his life that is someone who is upset.

I’m not saying this to down Job. He was patient and truly waited on God. He endured everything that happened to him, but he vented and complained quite often. Don’t ever feel that when you bring your sorrows to the Lord it means that you are not trusting God.  When you feel the need to vent to God, don’t think that you can’t.  If God is our everything, it means HE will also be THE ONE to whom we should go with our heartaches, anxieties and pain.

One of the things I admire about Job is that he always knew that his life depended on God. He knew he was feeble and that God was sovereign. He never cursed at God, he kept his faith through losing it all and he lost it all. He lost his wife, his sons, all his earthly possessions, his friends and even his health. When I say he lost it all, he lost it ALL; but his faith.

So at least in my case, I may have some of the patience of Job. I whine and whine and complaint knowing that God is there. I give it all to him, but I still say “God is not fair” and God says it’s true, I never said life was fair, but I am fair.

I don’t only want to have the patience of Job. I also want to have his faith and endurance to be able to Praise the Lord no matter what comes my way.

Food for thought.

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Do we honor God through our praise?

This past weekend I went to get my nails and feet done. This is one of my once a month guilty pleasures that I’ve learned to keep up as my to do thing for myself. While I was waiting for my “nail guy”, someone else had started my pedicure. In the meantime I was reading a bible study on my phone and I came across this scripture…

Mark 7:6-13 NLT “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

Some twenty minutes later my “nail guy” and we were carrying on a conversation. He pointed out to a guy who looked a lot like him. It was his younger brother. The young fellow didn’t look happy. He explained that the guy had been at home without a job or schooling and their mother, the owner of the shop, had made him come work with them. The guy was not pleased, but didn’t feel like he had a choice, so he had been coming to work.

This narrative reminded me of the scripture I had just read. And there’s so many things that I got from this scripture.

  • The religiosity in our world, where “believers” operate by religion and not love
  • The ideas and doctrines that we see that stray from the teachings from the bible.
  • The disrespect that we see against the older generations
  • The lack of respect that we see in our younger generations towards their parents

My mother lives in an independent living place and when I visit her she tells me the stories of many of her neighbors who are sick or in need of help and support but there’s nobody to attend their needs. My question to her always is do they have family? The sad answer is always yes.

The way I saw the last part was when people go to church, are very involved, but do not have time to tend to their elderly parents. Those who help every charity, but their parents are in a home without anyone who would buy them toothpaste or a soda.

How does this relate to my nail salon experience? I’ve seen teenagers and young adults snap at their parents when given a directive. This young man, although he didn’t want to be there, he respected what his mother asked of him. Even more, the one telling me the story has been working in that shop for 6 years, although he’s licensed to do something else that he eventually wants to pursue. But he always tells me that he will be there while his mother needs him. He plans to train his brother to see if that would be his opportunity to move on, but until his mother is covered he will not move.  And he does his job with excellency even though its something he doesn’t care for.

It makes me reflect on the following questions:

  • Have I honored God by properly honoring my parents?
  • Do I honor what God wants me to do? Or do I follow my wishes?
  • How is my worship? Is it heartfelt or do I just follow the tradition and customs?

I think is a lot to digest but a great food for thought

ABVCheck out my new book, A Brother’s Vow… availabe on Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords

Just $3.99 See how this family dynamics worked together and how honoring or dishonoring each of these characters were to their parents and to the will of God.

Also remember that the book giveaway is still open, read more about that here.

Finding Our Way, Figuring it Out

 By Deb DeArmond

 

September 26 is National Daughter-in-Law Day. I’m blessed with three wonderful DILs. I’ve also authored a book on relationships between Daughters-in-Law and Mothers-in-Law. Related By Chance, Family By Choice, releasing November 1. This article is written as a reminder to mother-in-laws to honor those sometimes considered “the other woman.”

 

“You know what I love about you?” asked my daughter-in-law Sarah as we sat in our favorite coffeehouse. “You don’t have an opinion about everything we do.”

 

I almost laughed out loud.

 

​“Of course, I do,” I replied. “I’m just not entitled to give it unless you ask for it or God instructs me to share it.”

 

She seemed surprised—and that felt good. Those who know me are aware I always have an opinion. Her surprise was feedback that I’d done a fairly good job of keeping it to myself more often than not.

 

Unsolicited advice on topics like finances, childrearing, cooking, or housekeeping masked behind “I’m just trying to help”—are a recipe for conflict. To your son’s wife, it sends the message that what she’s doing isn’t acceptable—she may feel you’re attempting to control her and the home she’s making for her family. The need to control never comes from a position of love. It comes from a position of fear. Let it go.

 

Instead, set your heart to pray for your daughter-in-law, to encourage her, to learn what’s important to her. I’d never been interested in the sport of running until DIL Penny joined our family. I’m looking forward to attending a race that marks her return to competitive running after the birth of my grandson. She’s her regaining her strength and speed. It’s been fun to share in her success, and I’m so proud of her.

 

When you appreciate the young woman your son has chosen, the need to point out her shortcomings becomes less tempting. Once you see her as God made her to be, you stop seeing flaws and you value her in a new way.

 

I recently shared an important lesson with a young friend, raising two little boys. She can’t imagine a woman could ever be good enough for them.

 

“If you make your sons the center of your world,” I told her, “you will be devastated, because you will never be the center of theirs.” She nodded, her eyes brimming with tears, the truth of the words sinking into her heart.

 

“How can I get beyond this? What can I do to make sure I don’t become a monster-in-law who ends up alienating not only my future daughters-in-law, but my sons as well?”

 

Here are the tips I shared with her.

 

  • Accept the Word as the authority on family order. The Lord is clear on this. The covenant we make is with our husbands, not our sons. Scripture in both the Old and New Testament all carry nearly identical passages about leaving and cleaving. It’s critical we acknowledge and submit to this principle. If it’s God’s plan for the family, it should be our plan.

 

  • Surrender your need to advise. This can be tough, but’s not optional. Wait till she asks, or until God prompts you. She may do things differently than you, but different is not wrong, it’s just different.

 

  • Pray for your son’s spouse-to-be. Son still single? Pray! When our son proposed after a very brief courtship, friends questioned my calm. The answer was simple: I had prayed for her all of his life. My heart recognized her the moment I met her. I experienced peace, certain of his choice. Praying for your son and his future wife when they’re still children also helps to prepare your heart. So no matter his age, pray. Start now.

 

When you are willing to honor your son’s choice, you are honoring God and walking in obedience. I didn’t lose my sons; I gained three wonderful daughters. What a gift.

 

The boys did not necessarily want a girl “just like the girl that married dear old dad.” We are unique, different from one another, but we share a love for Jesus and the desire to live life together successfully as a family. I learned to think of the differences as a gift. Different isn’t wrong—it’s just different.

 

Amazing how much easier it was to suspend judgment when I stopped comparing my way to theirs. I’ve been surprised by how much they can teach me if I’m open to learning. We’ve grown closer as a result. I know these are smart girls—they think my boys are wonderful!

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

 Deb DeArmond

Email: deb.dearmond@gmail.com

Website: Deb DeArmond/Family Matters

Phone: 817-283-1108

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Member: AWSA, ACFW, Christian Writer’s Guild, CLASSeminar Graduate

 

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications will release her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice, focused on relationships between women-in-law. She is co-founder of My Purpose Now, a website devoted to Christian women 50+. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

True Love

We are all pursuing true love. God created us as social beings, yes even those of us who don’t enjoy being around people. The reality is that those who don’t enjoy being around people,  are just protecting themselves from being hurt, if you look deep down. As loving creatures we crave love, just as much or more than we crave food or water.

But as we pursue love, are we willing to give love, real love? At the end of the day, what is love? The word of God tells us in  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.”

So having that as a base, are we patient with the ones we love?

I know that this is a hard one. We all have expectations for ourselves and for those around us. Sometimes we know the potential of our loved ones, but they may not be ready, don’t realize it or  simply don’t want to. Are we patient enough  to support them through their journey?

Do we always want to get our way?

Ask yourself this, do you rather be at peace or right all the time? Sometimes we have to compromise in all kinds of relationships. Yes, we obviously think that our way and our thoughts are the best ideas, but when we love someone we need to take a step back and give grace and allow others to go at their own pace, their way and support them and love them through the process.

Do we really believe in them?

In spite of the faults and weaknesses that we see in the ones we love, do we truly believe in the best for them? If we love someone we can’t show our love being critical of them. Instead we should encourage their dreams, their desires and their hopes.

 Do we hope for all things?

When things are at their darkest point we need to place our trust in God and not necessarily on the other person. At the same time, do we allow the Lord to work the situation or do we just give up at the first sign of being uncomfortable?  Let’s not forget that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who has been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

So we know everything will be alright even on the darkest of nights. Remember, when Jesus came to earth, the worst that could happen to the apostles was to lose him and he died…but then he was resurrected. In every dead area of our lives we need to hold on to the hope that he will either will be resurrected or make it brand new.

Can we endure all things?

Life and relationships are not easy. Even identical twins are different human beings. We need to learn to accept people for who they are. When we are committed to love somebody, we need to be prepared for trouble to come, not because we want to, but because it’s life. Sometimes issues happen because a situation happens or because there’s a disagreement. When we truly love, regardless of the type of relationship, we need to be prepared to work through our issues instead of disregard the relationship. If we decide to love like Jesus did, let’s do the right thing and express true love.

Until next time… Be blessed.

Allowing your joy to be stolen

happy-women1The other day,, a coworker and I went for our early morning workout. When we made it back to the office we were happy, energized and giggling. We were talking about our lives and about the things we had to do that day. The day was sunny; we had just brewed the perfect pot of coffee. It was a good day.
As we sat to work, we started talking about a common challenge. As we discussed the issue, we both started painting the possibilities of the worst case scenarios and how we could handle those. The conversation continued for a little while, and all of the sudden there was silence.
Now, bear in mind we are both very chatty people and we continued almost until noonsad women working quietly, which is a very rare instance. All of the sudden I turned to her and asked her, “What did we just do? Did we just depress ourselves? Her answer was yes.
We had started the day energized and happy, but we had allowed negative thinking to enter into our lives. Even at that point when we had both agreed that even if worst case scenario played out we both believed that God would make everything work for what was best, we didn’t regain our joyful demeanor.
The truth is that in general we all have the tendency to do that. . We allow the enemy to enter our minds and guide us to the landfill of doubt and discouragement. We allow the fear, anxieties and doubt to take the place of faith and trust in God, leaving us hopeless.I had to go to the Word and remind myself that I need to stand in God’s promises. That just like Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I also had to tell myself that if I put my trust in God I have to know that  “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

What lie is the enemy feeding your mind today? What is making you look at your circumstances instead of the face of God?
Cast all your fears and doubts at the feet of Jesus. Remember, he already paid the price. He always loves you.

Everything-Will-Be-Alright

1 Peter 5:7

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

John 14:27

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Until next time, be blessed

Hurry, I Have a Plank in My Eye

The other day I was talking to a friend whom I appreciate but who complaints a lot about other people. Some days she tells me all about how good this person is with her. A few days later she tells me how terrible this same person is towards her. Now if we allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves we all have those same moments with people in our relationships. Everyone has its good days and their bad days. The reality is that we don’t feel the same way about people all the time.

I remember long time ago I was working with this lady who had been married for a long time. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that in love, in any kind of love, you have to love someone everyday and that doesn’t mean you like them every day. I’ve thought about that statement and it’s very true. We are called to love one another, not to like one another. We may not approve of someone else’s behavior, but we are still called to love them. That is exactly what God does with us, that’s the expression of unconditional love, to love people in spite of how they think, act or behave.

But this is not a post about unconditional love. It’s about searching our souls for what it is that annoys us about the other people around us. I’ve learned through my journey to become closer to Christ is to become the 4yr old and ask why, why, why? I don’t do that to annoy my Heavenly Father. I do that to learn a lot about myself.

As someone who works in the behavioral health field, I understand that some of our thoughts and behaviors are not always conscious and mostly are a result of our heritage and life experiences. So when something happens, before jumping to a decision on how to deal with the situation, I want to know, why it bothers me so much? Most of the times I’ve had to discover that there’s a part of me that acts exactly the way of whatever it is that annoys me.

How is it possible that something that really bothers me in others, is also a behavior that I display? I have come to the conclusion that God presents us with those situations, so that we can see ourselves in the mirror and know how annoying we can be to others. I know that I complain about that same person that I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I complain about the way some days she’s very negative and complaints about others. But some days I talk about how much of an instrumental key she’s in my life. You see… I do the same thing that she does and that annoys me.

The bottom line is that I can’t change anyone, but I can change me. I appreciate every opportunity the Lord gives me to show me who I am to perfect me into a closer image of Jesus Christ.

Until then, be blessed

WF: Your Love Never Fails

The thing we should never forget about being a Christian is that our walk doesn’t come without pain and sorrows. Actually Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:34 that he didn’t come to abolish the pain. So what’s the difference between living a life for Christ and not, HIS LOVE…

Those of us who have chosen to believe in the Lord of Glory have discovered the peace that reaches all understanding. We know that even in the darkest of nights, we are not alone. There’s always a light inside of us that will show us the way out. Each of our tears will be held and comforted. We know, because he has said so, that even when we walk in the shadow of the valley of death HE will be with us.

On our loneliest day, we are not alone; we are always comforted by the Holy Spirit. The world can’t understand why we can smile in the middle of tragedy. They can’t understand how we can forgive the most awful of transgressions. How it is possible that we can let go of shame, humiliation and fear? Because Jesus took that all to the cross and that burden is not for us to carry anymore.

My friends, I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I do know that the God of Glory will lift those ashes and bring you through and every promise will be fulfilled. When you are so weary that you can’t even stand, kneel.

Lamentations 3:22-23

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

A House Divided

For the most part, we tend to believe that those around us have a similar mindset as ours. Isn’t that the reason why they are our friends, family or who we chose as spouses? But that is not true all the time. There are times in our walk were we are exposed to other ideas and personalities and they do not conform to our ways of thinking.

It is harder for us to deal with those situations when the person having the different mindset is someone very close to us. The reasons for this are endless. Sometimes someone in the equation is wrong. Someone may not be listening well. Someone may just have a different opinion.

The Word of God tells us clearly in Mark 3:25 that “A house divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  This is something that we don’t want. We want our relationships to grow and flourish. We want them to be peaceful and loving. So what are we to do?

Stop and Listen- Maybe there are some valid points to the other point of view.

Ask questions-Sometimes we get stuck in our positions due to not understanding what is being presented to us. If we get clarification we will be more equipped to form a different position.

Be Loving and Graceful- Even when we disagree, we will not be able to keep the lines of communication open if we present ourselves in a hostile manner.

Remember Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Consider if any position goes against the Word of God-If the position of the other person goes against the will and Word of God you can explain that. Not by hitting them on the head with a bible, but once again telling the truth in love. From that point it would be the other person’s responsibility to either continue on the wrong path or make changes. Always remember to love the person and not the sin.  But what if it’s you who are wrong (*gasp*) then maybe it’s you who needs some alone time with God, set aside your pride and decide to either follow God’s will or your own.

Agree to disagree- You can still love a person and have a harmonious relationship knowing that you don’t agree about something but still love and respect each other. It is too boring to agree on everything sometimes. LOL

Until next time, be blessed.

Coming Home

As many of you know I took the summer “off”. I say that in quotations because I was still working my 9-5 and doing ministry work.  My dog and the house didn’t get the memo, so off is a relative term. I was still  writing blogs during my vacation, I just wasn’t posting them. What can I say? I did take some time off to get away from home; some personal and some ministry related and although I had a fantastic time, I was yearning for home. During my trip I got to spend great time with awesome friends, make some new ones, learn new things, see new places, but at the end of the day I missed home. As I think about it when we are home we are always looking for a place to go because we are tired of seeing the same things. As soon as we cross the door, something in us realizes that we don’t belong outside of those walls, we always belong home. You know how it is, that cup that you keep rinsing and using because it fits the right amount. You want to experience the curve in that sofa that you have made from sitting in the same corner every day. The joy of embracing your pillow that is used to the unique way that you curve your head at night. Even the dog that you step on when you go to the bathroom in the dark, it’s all a part of you. Ironically one of the central themes at the church conference was “Coming Home”. It was based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son; which is no different than what I’m talking about. How many times do we get annoyed with our church home and leave because someone said or did something we didn’t like? Did you find yourself complaining about the music, the message…Then we left God looking for something better. As you’re sitting away looking back, you know you miss it. You miss that spiritual food that you received. You missed the message of hope inside your spirit. You even miss the sister screaming “hallelujah” right behind you, because you knew you were home. You knew that every time you crossed those lobby doors someone welcomed you with a smile. You knew that being in the presence of God was the best place to be and were you found true happiness. This was the place where you found peace. And by place I don’t mean XYZ particular building. I’m talking about returning to God. I’m talking about that place inside of you that you have abandoned for whatever reason: habits, addictions, relationships, laziness, lack of commitment, unforgiveness, pain. Yes, we call the church the house of God, so once our spirit has come home we need to assemble, to keep supporting each other and grow in our purpose. Pray about it. God has assigned you a particular place of worship. An imperfect place that is perfect for you. This is a place filled with imperfect people, just like you, to be in his perfect presence, receiving his perfect love. How long have you been away from home? C’mon, we’re all waiting for you.

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