Archive for April, 2014

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME
Controlling Anger Helps Build Happy Homes  2-B
Bev Robinson

Ras and I have both authored books which address the subject of anger. Ras’ book which is now out of print is entitled Before The Sun Goes Down and deals with marriage. One of the main stories tells about our getting right with each other. God showed us at the same time, as we enjoyed a beautiful sunset together, that we needed to get right with each other before the sun went completely down which we did. It was a maturing time in our marriage.

My book is entitled Who Am I And Why Am I Here. It deals with life’s purpose and is a more recent writing. It can be ordered on our FCM website in a downloadable pdf format (http://fullnessonline.org/products/books/). One of my illustrations is about anger being like a beach ball being held under water. If anger is not handled when it occurs, other incidents of anger collect. The incidents act like beach balls being held under water. When too many beach balls are collected, one can no longer keep them down and they suddenly explode to the surface with gusto.

Both of the illustrations have the following Scripture as their foundation: Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB)BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” This Scripture doesn’t condemn anger. It states the fact of anger, but says you are to handle it daily or the devil has an opportunity to wreak havoc in your life.

Scripture records times when Jesus was angry in different degrees, but His anger was always under control. One time, moved with enough passion and anger, He overthrew the tables of the money changers and drove them out of the temple, even cracking a whip. Scripture records the truth that Jesus committed no sin. Thus by deductive reason being angry alone is not a sin. It is however how you respond to circumstances with uncontrolled anger that causes sin.

So anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but uncontrolled it can cause serious problems first with you, then with your family and friends. We all have anger at various times, but the key is for it to be controlled. I hate to say that early in our marriage my anger was not under control. I yelled at my kids and at Ras. It would often cause whatever they were doing to stop for a while. But after a bit, they would return to the behavior that made me mad in the first place. My anger explosion would make me feel good for a while, but in actuality it did no good and it was a bad example to my children of how to behave toward others.

This shows the power and truth of the following Scripture:James 1:19-20 (NASB) This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

The right way of anger is to show it when and where God says to. The last fruit of the spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23). I believe because it is last in the list, it is one indication of how hard it is to surrender and let the Holy Spirit run our lives. He can help us with when, how, where and with whom it is to be expressed.

One of the reasons that caused me to stop that ungodly behavior was seeing the results of it in me and then in my family.

Let’s see what uncontrolled anger does to one’s health. Each thought you have has an accompanying biochemical that is released in your body. The good peaceful thoughts and words release helpful hormones that bathe your cells and aid in good growth and repair. Angry thoughts and words do the opposite. They release hormones that attack and do damage to the cells.

Dr. Caroline Leaf in her book. Who Switched Off My Brain writes “Hostility, rage and anger are at the top of the list of toxic emotions that can produce serious mental and  physical illnesses.” (page 68)

The Apostle Paul had to know a lot about anger when he was a part of imprisoning and killing Christians. He stood by watching when Stephen was stoned to death. I’m sure he saw the example of Stephen’s self-control in the face of impending death (Acts 7:59-60).

Later Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29-32 (NASB) “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Now what do you do if you have been allowing anger to control you instead of you controlling it?  Let the anger that rises within you be your trigger. When the temptation comes, take a deep breath and say to yourself a particular Scripture. The one I have used is Proverbs 18:10 (NASB) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” I back up into the strong tower of the Lord and am safe and protected from my enemy of uncontrolled anger.

I am praying in advance for you to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you self-control over uncontrolled anger.  With God’s help, we can have healthy bodies and healthy families.

Advertisements

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME
2-A Controlling Anger Helps Build Happy Homes
Ras Robinson

Ephesians 4:31-32 (AMP) “Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, t- (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another, tender-hearted [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”

As a young husband and father, anger was ruling my life. I desired to be the perfect father I felt my family deserved. My children regularly asked their mother, “What kind of mood do you think Dad will be in today when he comes home from work?”

Anger was so much a part of my life that it seemed “normal” to me. I justified my anger, knowing that my intentions were good towards my wife and children. In fact, I just knew they had the ability to be perfect in every way just as I tried to be. When they disappointed me, I would show my anger in words and actions towards them.

As time went by, I realized my quest to be perfect, just like Jesus was perfect, had some good things about it but some bad things too. God showed me I had a “spirit of perfection” for myself as well as for my wife and children and that spirit was not from Him. It was a hard day when I realized “only” Jesus could be perfect. When I was born again at age twelve, I acquired by the grace of God a perfect new man inside me that would last forever. But my soul was a different matter. It needed correction and discipline to be like Jesus.

Getting that “spirit of perfection” cast out of me was a good thing. God told me to confess and get right with my family. They forgave me with a sparkle in their eyes because they knew I loved them more than life itself. A peace and joy began to manifest in our home. It has lasted all these years, though not always perfectly.

In Paul’s passage above, we find that anger has some bad companions: bitterness, indignation, passion, rage, bad temper, resentment, animosity, quarreling, brawling, clamor, contention, slander, evil-speaking, abusive language and malice.

Paul goes on to teach us, And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tender-hearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”  This became one of my goals in our marriage and in raising our children.

Instead of showing anger, I sought to become useful and helpful, seeking to build up my family. Another goal was to be kind even when discipline or correction was needed and to be tender-hearted about it. I determined to become compassionate, understanding and loving-hearted. I would be quick to forgive and try hard to forget any wrongs. I would do this readily and freely just like God had forgiven me.

HOW TO BE ANGRY AND SIN NOT

Ephesians 4:26-27 (AMP) “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].”

I well remember the first time I read these two verses in my Bible. My response was “That’s impossible.” But God was so good to give me this revelation: “You will have anger. Jesus had anger. God had anger. But Paul’s wisdom here is that you are to make sure, as much as possible, to get all your anger forgiven and taken care of before you go to sleep at night. The extra power needed is found in knowing that if you do not repent of your anger, the devil will take “ground” in your life. He will attack you again and again from that “ground” you have surrendered. God revealed to me that anger is a sin only if I never repent. With this revelation, I found power and grace to forgive myself and to ask forgiveness from my family.

WHAT GOD HAS DONE

Only God alone could have done for our home what has happened. Our home  is now a home of peace, a house of love for God and each other. In addition, over our more than 57 years of marriage, we have received, blessed and been blessed by many thousands of people who have come to our now happy home. To God be all the glory and honor.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT NOW THAN WHEN WE LIVED WITH “SPIRIT OF ANGER?”

THREE IMPORTANT WORDS: We have learned to affirm, bless and forgive at the deepest level possible. Forgiveness needs to include forgetting offenses. Once you forgive, keep on forgiving until the last vestiges of unforgiveness and offense are gone. You may remember the offense, but the memory of it will have no power in your emotions.

With forgiveness, we learned to affirm those we love and care about. Affirmation, sincerely from the heart, is easy to give and can change a life forever. Daily, I tell my wife how pretty she is and how I love her. She just may the smartest person I have ever met. Her love for her family, our church members and me is astonishing.  My wife is never to doubt that I am convinced she is in reality an angel sent from Heaven to me.

I try to create and maintain a steady stream of affirmation toward our daughter and our son, though they are now grown and have families of their own. We let them know how proud of them we are through a steady stream of affirmation.

Finally as our family has grown, we have learned the power of blessing one another in the family. Over the years, we have celebrated each family member’s birthday. The family member whose birthday we celebrate sits at the head of the table. The meal consists of whatever is preferred by their honoree. After we eat, the birthday person must sit quietly while each family member gives a birthday card and words to bless and affirm. This has served our family quite well for many years.

Anger need not ever be a problem in your family. If it is, deal with it. God will bless your family for it. Controlling your anger will help to build your happy home. Be kind, forgiving and full of blessings for your family.

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME
1-B  Good Attitudes Build Happy Homes
By Bev Robinson

Ras and I awakened one morning years ago. I was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. I sat down at the breakfast bar, sighed and said, “I feel like I slept with the devil last night.”  The kids looked at me with raised eyebrows. I had slept with their dad. I was still sleepy and groggy and had not realized how it sounded. They told their dad when he came in for breakfast and then they began to tease us. Regardless of the pun that was not intended, think about it. Sometimes sourness and bad attitudes come from not getting enough rest or from events of the previous day. When you get up, there is that bad attitude staring everyone in the face with seemingly not much reason.

Another reason that explains our wrong attitudes is programing by family happenings when we were children. I remember an incident that happened after Ras and I had been married about 10 years. It was so “eye-opening” to me that I remember exactly where I was standing in our den. Ras would soon be home from work and I was considering ways to start an argument. After I had rolled over several things in my mind, it occurred to me what I was doing.  Why was I trying to pick a fight? Things were going so well. It felt like our relationship was going almost too well. I asked the Lord why I was thinking about sabotaging our relationship. Why was I thinking about starting an argument? God showed me a pattern in my childhood home life. Things would seem to be going well and all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, relationships would be strained between my parents. Separation or divorce would soon follow. (There were seven divorces between my mother and father.) As a child, I would be playing without a care and suddenly attitudes would turn sour and divisions followed. It was an established pattern I had grown up with. Family roots of such happenings can produce bad attitudes. The reason I was about to pick a fight with my husband was because of the pattern I had experienced in my childhood.

We may not know exactly why bad attitudes come, but if you don’t stop them they can hinder the blessings God has for you and your family. How we handle challenges can directly affect our lives and bring good attitudes or bad attitudes. So what does it take to maintain a good attitude? Let’s look at three Scriptures:

  1. Romans 8:28-29. (NASB)And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
  2. Proverbs 14:6. (AMP) A scoffer seeks Wisdom in vain [for his very attitude blinds and deafens him to it], but knowledge is easy to him who [being teachable] understands.
  3. Philippians  2:5.  (AMP)“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

1. Romans 2:28-29. This verse of Scripture was written by the Apostle Paul. Early in his life he was a part of imprisoning and murdering Christians. After he was converted and began to share the Gospel, he was beaten several times, thrown out of cities and imprisoned. God caused good to come from all he had been through. In Paul’s time, the known world had the Gospel preached to them mostly because of him. Our son-in-law, the pastor of our church, places emphasis on the words God causes. Whatever has come your way, good or bad, God will cause it to work for your good. At the same time He is causing good to come, He is also conforming us to the image of Christ. Both Jesus and Paul went through many things and so will we. So if we can keep in our thoughts and words on the fact that God will cause all things to work together for our good, it can help us maintain good attitudes.

2. Proverbs 14:6 reminds us the futility of scoffing. Scoffing means being cynical with whatever is happening. Having a cynical attitude blocks wisdom from a situation, but having a teachable spirit brings understanding. Scoffing will result in a bad attitude. Maybe children in the household have little idea of what is going on between parents, as was the case for me as a child, but it can open them to cultivating bad attitudes. A scoffer is bound by his attitude. The remedy is to walk in humility and have a teachable spirit.

3. Philippians 2:5 tells us to have the attitude of Jesus and walk in humility as He did. Jesus gave up the privileges and blessings of heaven to come to earth. The rest of the passage through verse 13 says He emptied himself and was obedient even to the point of death.

When we work at having good attitudes, knowing God will work out all things for our good, when we don’t allow ourselves to become cynical, and when we walk in humility, we will be well on our way to having peaceful, up building and positive homes. We can only do this through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Through allowing Jesus to live through us, we can maintain the attitudes for a joyful life and experience happy home life.

How To Have A Happy Home
1-A – Good Attitudes Build Happy Homes
Ras Robinson

What is an attitude? Attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. Attitude could be described with these words: view, viewpoint, outlook, perspective.

Some guidelines and things to remember concerning attitudes God has shown me I should have as husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather:

  • My attitude is that my home is blessed by God.
  • Each day is a new day and we forget what lies behind. We concentrate on the present while stretching toward the future.
  • Problems are opportunities for breakthroughs. Big problems are opportunities for big breakthroughs.
  • I am a servant to my wife and children.
  • God is in total command of my family and not me.
  • I am no longer a dirt farmer’s son; rather I am a joint heir with Jesus.
  • My job is to create, with my words and actions, a positive atmosphere in our family.
  • Daily I create the atmosphere in my home by my attitudes.

Let’s look at some verses of Scripture regarding our attitudes:

Does the Bible speak specifically regarding attitude?  “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

A good additive of thanksgiving enhances attitude.  “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 NIV)

Adopt humility with your attitude as did Christ.  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

Right attitudes lead children to righteousness.  “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17 NASB)

Right attitudes gain approval with both man and God. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.” (Romans 14:17-18 NLT)

Right attitudes require humility and death to selfishness. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 NLT)

I pray every day that my home will be filled with the peace and presence of Jesus, first for my family and then for the world to see what miracles God has done in our home. He is certainly not finished with us yet. There is a large wooden piece of art to the left of our front door that makes our declaration loud and clear. It states for all to see, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15”

In addition to the wooden piece of art, we also follow the Jewish tradition of placing a small wooden container called a “mezuzah” on our doorpost. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case) with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21).These verses comprise the Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael,” beginning with the phrase: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” The parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe, written in black indelible ink and with a special quill pen. The parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case and fastened to the door frame as a reminder to all who come and go that “the Lord is our God.”

Next Tuesday, April 8, my wife will release her insights about the importance of having good attitudes in the home. She is very transparent, fair and full of mercy. I pray you will totally buy into these tenets and insights we bring from our 57 years of marriage. I sure hope she does not totally undress my weaknesses before you. I can assure you that she will call attitudes by the right name and help all of us consider our way toward the goal of “How to Build a Happy Home.” I totally trust her to lead you with God anointed insights and delightful and sometimes maybe painful grist for your mill to bring all of us to a happier home life.

 

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME – INTRODUCTION
Ras Robinson

WHY ARE WE WRITING THIS BOOK?
BACKGROUND
.  My grandfather and grandmother had chiseled on their tombstone marker the words “To God Be the Glory.” Those words were a seed for me and now for my family, believing that all our family will bring glory to our God and Savior Jesus the Christ.

In raising our two children, we taught them that our family does not get divorces. My father and mother raised six children, four girls and two boys. I am the youngest. When my siblings would come visit our parents, I would hear the latest news from their families, good and bad. In that environment, I determined that if I ever got married, my wife and I would remain committed in marriage for life. I knew it would be a challenge at times to stay together, but I knew it was God’s will. Our two children deserved that solid and stable foundation.

In the last few years, some of our family members have been on the brink of seeking divorce, just as Bev and I were when our two children were pubescent kids. But we are pleased that, so far, all of us have stayed the course. We believe God is also pleased.

I performed a marriage ceremony for a beautiful young couple. It was a great celebration for the two who were so much in love. A while later they separated. I just read that she has decided to return to her husband and try again. Needless to say I am elated about this news. But full disclosure dictates that I must also share that many other marriages are in deep trouble and looking at divorce.

THE STATE OF MARRIAGE IN AMERICA. In preparing this article, I referenced the current divorce rate through a Google search. Here is what I found to be current in a report filed in 2013:

“Marriage is a counter-cultural act in a throwaway society.” — Dr. William H. Doherty, noted marriage scholar and therapist.

An overview stated: “In the United States, researchers estimate that 40%–50% of all first marriages, and 60% of second marriages, will end in divorce.”

WHY BEV AND I ARE WRITING THIS BOOK ABOUT “HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME”: Today my wife Bev and I begin, after 57 years of marriage, releasing some revelatory and practical teaching on the subject of “How to Have a Happy Home.” We believe the best starting place to having a happy home is having the right attitudes because “Right Attitudes Build Happy Homes.” That will be the focus for our first chapters.

“Attitudes” absolutely make or break happy homes. Do you have the right attitude towards your spouse? How about your offspring? We want to share with you what we have learned. Our intention is that it will inspire and help you in your home.

The cost in our marriage was great from our wrong attitudes. We came very close to losing our marriage when our two children – daughter Robin and son Kevin were in or near their teenage years. Those were our learning times. We both desired a great marriage but seemed to know little about how to make it better. So, we asked God to help us. Bev and I will share how we came to be filled with the Holy Spirit and learned to make and keep Jesus as Lord in our lives and home. Once that happened, our attitudes became more righteous and our home more happy.

Our prayer is that you can learn from our mistakes as well as many, many things we have discovered about having a happy home, often through trial and error. We hope these will bless and help you enjoy an even more happy home.

Much of what we share was first learned from seeking God in Scripture, church and prayer. We are both God-hogs with faith that never fails. Additionally, our bookcases contain most books published in recent years on Christian marriage. They have collectively been very helpful.

Our format for “How to Have a Happy Home” will be simple and based in a desire that what we share will inspire and teach you how to be a total success in your home. It is our belief that having the right attitudes, based in the righteousness of Jesus will be a giant step forward.

We have agreed that I will lead off each time with my perspective, then Bev will give hers a couple of days later.

Our topics will include:
Husbands, Fathers, Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers
Wives, Mothers, Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers
Parenting
Grandparenting and Great Grandparenting
Special Occasions with the Family

The first chapter “Right Attitudes Build Happy Homes” will be posted on Thursday, April 3.