Thursday, March 29, 2018

Being a Naomi Mother-in-law and Not a Monster-in law

I’m sure everyone has read or at least heard the story, but just as background: There was a great famine in Israel during the time when judges ruled. Many people relocated to foreign lands to find food for their families. A man from Bethlehem named Elimelek took his wife Naomi and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion went to Moab to find food and ended up staying there to live. Elimelek died and Naomi continued to live with her two sons who married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. Both sons also passed away leaving Naomi with her two foreign daughter-in-laws. Naomi heard that the Lord helped the people of Israel and food had been provided back home. She decided to go back to Bethlehem in Judah and told Orpah and Ruth to stay in Moab and find new husbands. While Orpah returned to her mother’s home, Ruth clung to Naomi and told her that she will stay with her and that Naomi's God and people will be her God and people.
Not only did Naomi care enough for her daughter-in-laws to want them to find new husbands, Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth loved her so much she was willing to leave her family, friends and gods to stay with Naomi and take care of her. When they had returned to Bethlehem, Ruth worked very hard in the fields to provide enough barley to sell and to keep some for her and Naomi. Boaz, who owned the fields Ruth worked in ended up marrying her. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Jesse who would be the father of David and from whose genealogy would come the Savior Jesus Christ.
We hear so many stories of friction between mothers and their daughter-in-laws, wouldn’t it be an amazing world if instead of the friction there was love and admiration for each other. That your daughter-in-law cared so much about you that if something were to happen to her husband, your son, she would still care of you.
I know a bond between most mothers and their son is strong and many have a hard time of letting their son live a life without being constantly in the middle of it (now I can’t say how it is with girls, because I don’t have one), but when a mother truly loves their son, shouldn’t they at least try to love the women he has chosen to be his wife.
The strain that mother-in-laws can put on a couple’s relationship is no laughing matter. It can, in fact, ultimately destroy a relationship. So, ask yourself if you really want to be the reason your son’s relationship fails or even the reason it is strained.
I realize there are times when it isn’t all the mother-in-law’s fault – and that sometimes people are just not going to get along. When this occurs, it is tempting to fight fire with fire, taking digs at your daughter-in-law or calling her names or being equally rude. But don’t go there. remember that it takes two to tango and this is one dance you need to sit out.
Just remember you don’t want to be cut from your son’s life – whenever anybody becomes toxic to your marriage or family, then they have every right to roll up the “Welcome” mat and say “Game over.” Your daughter-in-law is the women in your son’s life and has the right to a peaceful existence.
Remember, you both love the same man. Focus on what you have in common – as the more mature, more experienced one, it up to us, to find a way to relate. Once our son takes a wife, we must accept that we are no longer the most important woman in his life. This doesn’t mean we can’t be close, but our job is to support their union, not your maternal relationship.
If you haven’t read the Book of Ruth – take a moment to do so. It is a short read, but through Ruth’s line came our Lord. All because she loved her mother-in-law enough to follow her and take care of her.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I’m supposed to what?

I find myself being drawn to conversations about politics lately. Luckily, I don’t have high blood pressure . . . . When I'm in these conversations I have to keep reminding myself that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how much I may disagree with it, however, I've been finding that there are a lot of people in these discussions that don’t see things that way – they believe if you don’t agree with their take on things you are totally wrong. Oy vey!

We know that God’s will is for us to love other people with a godly love. We are called to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) and even to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). Jesus told His disciples the night before His crucifixion, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” (John 13:34).

So, is it possible to love a person without liking that person? You may have asked yourself at some point, I know I have, “how can I love someone who hates me because of my stance on something?.”

One issue we find ourselves facing is the English word “love” implies affection. We say we love chocolate or puppies. We can’t comprehend loving something unless we also are fond of it. And this especially true for people. So Jesus’ command to love the people we don’t like seems impossible.

We have to remind ourselves that there are different definitions of love, especially agape love. One definition of agape love that is easy to understand is “truly wanting the best for the other person.”

We are never going to like every person or even respect every person we encounter. The only way to have love for “all” others is when we place our trust fully in Christ and pursue wisdom and holiness through prayer and the Scriptures, then and only then, we will develop a love for others—a godly love which sacrifices self by seeking the best for them—whether or not it is accompanied by respect and affection. We need to also pray for those we are not fond of. I believe, the more we pray for them, the less we are going to dislike them. Yes, this one is still hard to grasp, but with Christ’s help, I’m trying.

We also must remember God has given us minds to discern, to some extent, the hearts of others. We are also made in God’s image and should not unnecessarily put ourselves in harm’s way by trusting someone who is not worthy of that trust. Jesus slipped away from crowds because He knew their hearts and needed to protect Himself (John 5:13; 6:15).

Remember, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), a love like no other. Now, we have to realize, we will not like everyone, nor are we called to. When we begin to show love by our actions, our attitudes will follow – it isn’t going to be an overnight change. Love will still be a choice, but it will gradually become one the heart is more willing and ready to make.

This is going to be a daily—a battle that we can only accomplish with Christ’s help.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You voted him, not me . . . well you voted her, not me.

I have read so many ugly commentaries and heard people I would never have expected to argue and fuss with others and to say some of the nastiest things about our current and incoming POTUS – so with the 2017 Inauguration just around the corner, I thought it prudent to remember what the Lord calls us to do in regards to leadership.
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  1 Timothy 2:1-2
Whether you voted for the incoming or outgoing POTUS – we need to remember there are correct and wrong ways to object or praise the leader of this GREAT NATION of ours. We should not bow to him nor should we slander him. When discussing politics remember to be peaceful and considerate of others – remembering that the person you vote for in the next election may not be the one elected that time and then the shoe is on the other foot, as the saying goes.
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 3:1-2
I just shake my head at the number of people saying they were going to leave our country and others that have and continue to cause riots and spew nasty hateful commentary about our country’s leaders. They have caused people to misunderstand what our country stands for and continue to mix up statements and give half-truths and continue to malign our country.
2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
    but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.
  Proverbs 28:2
We, individually, are not perfect, our leaders are not perfect and our country is not perfect – but this is the GREATEST country in the world and there is no better place in this world to live. Yes, it is up to us to vote our conscience and strive for the best for our country. We should never give up working towards what we believe is best for our nation – but what we need to realize is that when a leader does not fear God and does not serve the Lord – God will handle it in the end.
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 2:10-12
We should never give up our quest for what we feel is best for our country and its people – we as a people are never going to fully agree on anything – but that is what this nation of ours is all about, different people from all walks of life, working for a common goal – to have the best possible place anyone could ever live. As I said, we may never agree on what that place looks like, but if we agree “to be peaceable and considerate” and “gentle toward everyone” we can work towards our goal separately but together and in the end it is all going to work out.
The Seventh Trumpet
15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”
  Revelation 11:15
So, fear not, because God’s got this!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
 Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.