Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Have a Drama-Free Life - Step 2

Step 2 – Get Away!

I have a confession to make.
I have a messy closet. Shoes are scattered all over the floor. Too many shirts on hangers are jammed onto the rod. Scarves are everywhere. My twenty-year-old high school yearbooks, a few of my now teenage sons’ baby blankets, old trophies, and other treasures I can’t part with are thrown onto a shelf.
I certainly didn’t inherit my closet organizing ability from my mother.
You should see my mom’s closet.
My mom saves all of her shoeboxes and keeps her shoes in them. She neatly stacks the boxes and arranges them according to type and color. She has color-coordinated bins that are meticulously labeled for items such as belts and scarves. She regularly purges her closet, and only clothes that are in season hang on the rack.
Oh well. I guess I’m gifted in other ways.
Have you ever heard of the term “prayer closet”? There have been times in my life when my kids were younger that I had to tell my husband to watch the kids and I would go to my messy closet and shut the door so I could have time to focus and pray. In a closet when you’re alone with God, you can be honest with Him about everything going on in your life.
Mary was honest with the angel when she told him that she didn’t understand how God’s plan was going to work. She didn’t hide her fear or her questions. Luke chapter two shows us how Mary responded to the angel. In verse twenty-nine, it says that “she was troubled,” and in verse thirty-four, she asked, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (NKJV)
            In our culture we’re told to be tough and strong and to never let them see you sweat. If we’re not careful we can relate with God that way as well. Take time to pray daily. When you pray, don’t recite something you’ve memorized or rattle off a paragraph that means nothing to you. If you really want to get a handle on the drama in your life, if you really want to be able to respond to the trials that surround you with the peace and patience of a mature Christian, you must communicate with God sincerely when you pray.

            We need to take time to get away – get in a closet if we have to and be real and transparent with God. That’s the only way to avoid an over-emotional, stressed out, overwhelmed response . . . in other words, drama.

            Self – Reflection Questions
            Do I pray daily?
            Do I pray real, honest and transparent prayers?
            Do I have a set place and time that I get away and pray in every day?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

This book is part workbook, part girl-talk, part devotional. Feel free to read it with a pen and write your responses in the margins and next to the questions and doodle your thoughts all over. It’s my desire that this book will help you to break free from the exhausting drama-filled life, and that you will find the peaceful, abundant life that God has prepared for you.

What do I mean by “Drama”?

The word “drama” has many meanings. It can be a play performed in a theater or it can refer to the art of acting. It can also refer to stories or movies that are serious in nature. Lately, I’ve noticed that “drama” has become slang for the craziness that invades our lives. The phrase “Save the drama for your mama” and calling an overly emotional person a “drama queen” have both become popular.
For the purposes of this study, I’m going to define drama this way:

Drama – a chaotic, frenzied response to the trials of life.

Years ago I was a high school drama teacher. I had a student who was a serious behavior problem. She was very disrespectful and difficult to handle in class.
At a parent-teacher conference, her mother said, “We don’t know why she doesn’t do better in your class. She is a very dramatic person.”
I wanted to tell that mother that being a dramatic person and doing well in drama class are two totally different things.
Let’s think about the opposite of drama. Words like peacefulness and patience and self-control come to mind. It’s interesting that those attributes are listed among the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, and yelling, tearfulness, rage, moodiness, uncontrolled emotions, being stressed out, or exaggerated reactions are not included.

How can I have the fruit of the spirit?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (NKJV) are called the fruit of the spirit. That means they are the outcome of a life lived in the spirit. These attributes are not something you can force yourself to do in your own strength for very long. You must have the Holy Spirit living in you and you must abide in the Lord, as described in John 15:1-17.

The Foundation for a Drama-Free Life

When you know that Jesus is your savior, that everything on this earth is temporary, and that you will live eternally with the Lord, that makes the trials of this life far less concerning, and you can start to live a life free from drama. Have you received Jesus as your savior? That’s the foundation for this life of peace.

How can I receive Jesus as my savior?
            Just remember your A, B, C’s . . .

1.)  Ask – Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. According to Romans 3:10 and Romans 3:23, we have all sinned. Sin is anything that we have done that separates us from God, and the blood of Jesus that He shed on the cross is the only thing that can wash away our sins.
2.)  Believe – According to Romans 10:9, Acts 4:12 and Acts 16:31 we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. We must believe that He is the only son of God, the sinless sacrifice for our sins, and that He arose from the dead and is alive in Heaven and will return for His church one day.
3.)  Confess – Use your voice to pray and declare that Jesus is the new Lord of your life, ask Him to cleanse your sins, and tell Him that you will try to turn your back on your sin. Romans 10:9 and I John 1:9 tell us that confession is a vital part of salvation.

If you Asked, Believed, and Confessed just now, I am so happy for you. Congratulations! It’s your Spiritual Birthday! Write it down on your calendar, and circle this day in red. It’s the day you became a follower of Jesus. Luke 15:10 tells us that the angels in heaven are rejoicing right now because you have repented and come to Christ.

Now that you’ve laid the foundation, let’s look at ten steps you can take to build a drama-free life on that foundation. We are going to find these ten steps in the life of a true Bible hero.

Our Example – Mary the Mother of Jesus

I think we’ve all had seasons of life that have had too much drama. Maybe you’re in one of those seasons right now. Maybe you’re not, but you’d like to learn how to respond without drama when you’re faced with trials of life the next time they come.
The best source for wisdom and help is God’s Word. It’s helpful to look at Bible heroes and learn from their lives. In this study, we’re going to look at the life of Mary the Mother of Jesus, and learn ten steps we need to take as we face the trials of life without being overcome by drama.

Step 1 – Recognize that God Knows

Let’s think about Mary for a moment. She was a young, unmarried teenage girl. The angel told her that she would have a baby, and Mary was honest. She said that she was afraid. If you or I were in her situation we would be afraid too. She couldn’t tell her fiancĂ©, Joseph, that the baby was his, because she was a virgin. How would Joseph react? He had the power to stop the wedding, and to tell everyone she had cheated and ruin her reputation, possibly destroying any chance Mary would have to ever get married.
The Lord helped Mary in her situation. He sent an angel to talk to Joseph. Joseph decided to believe the angel and obey God. So many times we focus on the fact that God chose Mary. That is important, that her character was highly favored and she was chosen, however, I think it’s also important to point out that God chose Joseph, too. I believe that God orchestrated the engagement of Mary and Joseph, because He knew Joseph would be the sort of man who would listen to the angel and obey.
Mary’s trials were prophesied about thousands of years before they actually happened. At the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden God prophesied that the offspring of woman would crush the head of the serpent. (Genesis 3:15 NIV) thousands of years before Mary was born, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would conceive and bear a Son. (Isaiah 7:14)
Mary’s dilemma didn’t catch God off guard. He didn’t cause her to conceive and then think, “Oh no, how am I going to get her out of this?” Not at all. God is infinite in His wisdom. We can’t comprehend the height and depth of His knowledge and wisdom. He knew exactly what Mary would face.
Just like Mary, God knows all about our trials in advance, before we ever experience them. Why is that important for you to know? It’s important, because God is not distant. He is not a stained-glass window or a porcelain figurine. He is real, and He is an active part of your life. It’s important to know that He knows, because He loves us. God loves you. According to John 3:16, God sent His son, Jesus, to die for the world because He LOVES us. Be aware, a tactic of the enemy is to get people to think that God doesn’t love them.
Just because you have difficult circumstances doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you.
            This life can be hard. I know that some right now are facing sickness, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial hardships, and it’s tempting to think that God doesn’t love you when you are in the middle of those hard times.
            You are important to God. According to Luke 12:7, He knows the number of hairs on your head. Our society has put such a low value on human life, that we forget the high value God places on human life. He loved humanity so much that He sacrificed His own son. God loves you, and you are important to Him.
            Remember that God has planned a path for you through the trials. Galatians 4:4 says that in the “fullness of time” God sent His son to be born. God’s timing is perfect. It may seem insane for me to say that to you. You may have just had a horrible incident in your life, but God’s timing is perfect. He WILL use that horrible thing that just happened to you and make something good out of it in your life. (Genesis 50:20) The enemy may have attacked you, but don’t despair, God will use that situation to make you better and so that you may be a blessing to others.
            How should we respond?
            First, we should trust God and acknowledge His authority in our life. Proverbs 3:5,6 (KJV) – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Second, we should take the path He has planned for us.
I Corinthians 10:13(b) – God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. (NKJV)
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

The preceding verses tell us that God has made a Path, a Way, and a Plan for us. His Path, Way, and Plan are the best. They might lead us through trouble at times, but they are still the best, because He sees where they are leading. Only God can see into the future. So get on the Path, Way, and Plan the He has prepared for you! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vacation Postcard 

We are on vacation in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Two nights ago, Kevin, the boys, and I toured the historic bathhouse row in downtown Hot Springs. These famous bath houses use steaming hot water that comes up from the ground out of several natural springs. Our family walked in front of the bathhouses on the main street and admired their stunning architecture, and we walked behind the bathhouses on the Grand Promenade and saw the water bubbling to the surface and the steam rising up out of the springs. We all appreciated the beautiful landscaping, the brick pathways, the ivy covered hills, the fireflies glowing, and the antique architecture. “Spa City” is truly a magnificent city! 

Today, we are still on vacation here in Hot Springs, and I get out my Bible to do my morning devotional, and it just so happens that the scripture I read is all about springs.

James 3:10 – 12, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus, no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” 

In Hot Springs they built bathhouses on top of springs that were always, consistently hot. Would they have built these spas on springs that were sometimes hot and sometimes cold? I doubt it. Why? Because they were building businesses that needed reliable springs. They needed springs they could count on to always be hot.

The one and only Great God wants to build something on my life. My kids are building lives, and I need to be a steady, reliable spring for them. People are counting on me to be consistent. Am I reliable? Am I always hot? Or am I sometimes hot and sometimes cold?

I thank God that HE is that for me. People will fail. I will fail. God never fails. HE never changes. HE is reliable, faithful, consistent, and trustworthy, and I am supposed to grow more and more like HIM every day. 

It’s been a great vacation! If you haven’t been to Hot Springs, Arkansas, I suggest you take a trip here sometime. It’s a gorgeous town!