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Talking Points

DOING WHAT WE KNOW IS RIGHT VS. WHAT "FEELS" RIGHT IN THE MOMENT
I can want to do what is right and what is wrong at the same time. It is not always easy to choose to do what is right, but it is easier than choosing the wrong thing and going through the misery I feel afterward. I may feel like pouting and feeling sorry for myself all day if I don't get my way about something, but through Christ I can choose to have a good attitude and trust God to get me whatever He wants me to have at the time.

DEALING WITH UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS
Sometimes we feel emotional because something upset us the day before and we didn't resolve it. We are often guilty of stuffing things down inside us rather than dealing with them. If you are a person who avoids confrontation, you can have a soul full of unresolved issues that need closure before emotional wholeness will come. I remember a night when I was unable to sleep, which is unusual for me. Finally, around five in the morning, I asked God what was wrong with me. Immediately I recalled a situation from the day before. I had been rude to someone and instead of apologizing to them and asking God to forgive me, I rushed through the situation and on to the next thing I needed to do. Obviously, my wrong conduct was irritating my spirit, even though my conscious mind had buried it. As soon as I asked God to forgive me and made a decision to apologize to the person, I was able to go to sleep.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING HONEST WITH OURSELVES
When we ask people how they are, the answer is usually "Fine," but the person might actually be freaked out, insecure, neurotic, and erratic. As Christians we often feel that we should feel better than we do, or that it is wrong to feel the way we do, so we hide our feelings from everyone. Sometimes we try to hide the way we really feel from our own selves. We pretend to have faith while we're full of doubt. We pretend to be happy while we are miserable; and we pretend to be in control and have it all together, but at home behind closed doors we are totally different people. We don't want to admit that we are living phony lives so we stay busy enough that we never have to deal with things as they really are. We may even bury ourselves in church work or spiritual activity as a way of hiding from God. He is trying to show us truth, but we would rather work for Him than listen to Him.

God just wants us to be honest and real. Don't fall into the trap of thinking all your feelings are wrong. Being a person of faith does not mean you will never have negative or ungodly feelings. We will experience feelings that need to be dealt with, but we can always exercise our faith in God and ask Him to help us not to allow our feelings to control us. The Bible says we live by faith and not by sight (see 2 Cor. 5:7). That means we don't make decisions based on what we see or feel, but according to our faith in God and His promises to us. I don't think what we feel is a sin as long as we are talking to God about it and securing His strength to choose to act on His Word and not on how we feel. The Bible says to be angry and sin not. That literally means you can feel angry about an injustice, but if you deal with it properly then it will not become sin (see Eph. 4:26).

 

 

MARRIAGE, LOVE, AND FEELINGS
Don't have unrealistic expectations. Recognize the feelings you had in the early days of yourrelationship for what they were. They were feelings - no more, no less - just feelings! When I married Dave I didn't even know what love was, and my emotions were so dysfunctional that whatever I did feel couldn't have been trusted to tell me anything. I married Dave because he asked me to, and I knew he was a good man. He did excite me because he was and is very good-looking. He was also an amateur bodybuilder and had muscles everywhere. I liked the way I felt when he kissed me. He had a car and I didn't have one. He had money and I didn't have any, so there were lots of things to excite me. We have been married forty-four years now, and I can say without any hesitation that I sincerely and definitely love Dave. I don't always feel excited when he comes home, my heart doesn't pound when he kisses me, but I truly do love him.

No matter what happens, I am committed to Dave. That is love! Love is not a mere feeling. It is a decision about how we will behave and treat people.

MANAGING DISAPPOINTMENT
When we are disappointed, our emotions initially sink, and then sometimes they flare up in anger. After some time goes by and we have thoroughly expressed our anger, we may feel the sinking of emotions again. We feel down, negative, discouraged, and depressed. The next time you are disappointed, pay attention to the activity of your emotions, but instead of letting them take the lead, make the decision to manage them. There is nothing unusual or wrong about initial feelings of disappointment, but it is what we do from that point forward that makes all the difference in the world.

I learned long ago that with God on our side, even though we will experience disappointments in life, we can always get "reappointed." If you or I have a doctor's appointment and he has an emergency and has to cancel, we simply make another appointment. Life can be that way too. Trusting that God has a good plan for us, and that our steps are ordered by Him, is the key to preventing disappointment from turning into despair.

THE POWER OF HOPE
Millions of people live miserable and unfruitful lives because they are deceived. They believe they are merely victims of whatever comes their way. If they wake up feeling depressed, they offer no resistance, but erroneously assume that they must behave the way they feel. I know this very well because I lived in this same type of deception for a large part of my life. If the deceived person is offended and feels angry, he usually expresses his anger and even hangs on to it as if it is a battle prize. It occurs to very few that they can let the anger go and trust God to take care of their vindication.

The world is filled with discouraged, downtrodden individuals who could make their situations better by simply choosing to continue on in hope. Once we learn the power of hope and practice it, it is a hard habit to break. Just as a person can form a habit of being discouraged each time things don't go her way, she can learn to encourage herself through hoping that a blessing is right around the corner.

10 LIFE CHANGING DECISIONS TO START MAKING RIGHT NOW

  1. Believe the best of every person. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Imitate Jesus in showing mercy to people.
  3. Understand that hurting people hurt people, and pray for those who hurt you.
  4. Don't let your emotions make your decisions.
  5. Remember that if you make right choices, your emotions will eventually come in line with your decisions.
  6. You have God's power to enable you to do difficult things.
  7. Refusing to forgive is like taking poison and hoping it will get rid of your enemy.
  8. God expects us to give away what we have freely received from Him - including forgiveness.
  9. Forgiving = freedom. Don't become your own jailer!
  10. Don't ever waste another day being bitter. Each day is a gift from God - use it wisely.
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