Positive Influences

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I live in a very small place – 320 square feet, to be exact! Our converted tour bus makes for very cozy living…perhaps sometimes a little TOO cozy!

Living in a small space with four of my children (and one hubby) makes for a LOT of noise! Having my devotions uninterrupted is not just a joke; it’s impossible!

So when it’s time to kneel down and pray, often I’ll put some ear buds in my ear and play worshipful music. It helps to drown out all the other noise an allow me to concentrate on The Lord alone.

That’s probably not a very good analogy, since my family is not a “bad influence,” but sometimes we need to drown out the negative voices of this world with more positive voices from the Word of God and those that love God.

Last week I wrote about how the negative influences we allow into our lives affect our marriage. This week, I want to think about what we can do to overwrite, or drown out those negative influences with positive ones. One of the most important things we can do if to fill our lives with good things.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

A young man once wrote to Thomas Carlyle, the famous writer and teacher, and asked him for advice on how he could improve himself. Wise Carlise had much advice, but one of the important principles he gave, was to read good books rather than fluff. Let’s follow Carlise’s advice and overlook the “dessert” and go for the “meat and potatoes.”

Add positive voices:

1. Find encouraging people to be with. I’m not necessarily talking about effervescent, bubbly, gushy people, but people who are not complainers. Many people feel that they have a personal right to complain, and that it makes them feel good when they put other things and situations down. I once heard the saying, “small people talk about other people, average people talk about things, but great people talk about ideas.” Look for great people to be with.

2. When it comes to videos, choose only the best. If you regularly watch dysfunctional families and see how the strong, powerful, kind and intelligent woman wins over the selfish, stupid man, then you will eventually live out such unbiblical roles in your own home. That is not something you want! Some of my favorite videos are Fireproof and Courageous.

3. Fill your ears with great music and preaching. I enjoy listening to the Bible during the day. (You can download OnlineBible or use the app called Bible.is, which will play dramatized Bible for you as you go throughout your day.) Listen to uplifting Christ-honoring music (try Majesty Music and Faith Music Missions to buy some great stuff or download the app for the radio station KNVBC. There’s also the Bible Broadcasting Network [bb.radio.org,]) You can listen to good preaching online. You can even listen to Dr. Harley speak on all topics of marriage at Marriage Builders Radio.

4. For your reading material, choose encouraging biographies, books, or even blogs. Find good biblical marriage books and blogs to read, and take the time to think about what they say. I already mentioned Dr. Willard Harley of Marriage Builders. His success rate of helping marriages is probably the highest of anyone, and his books (His needs, Her needs, Lovebusters, etc.,) have been helping marriages for decades.

Some of the blogs I find helpful and encouraging are Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog, The Alabaster Jar, and Warrior wives. Don’t forget to check out some of Sheila’s books while you’re at it!

Next time you’re tempted to let the din of this world pull you into a sour attitude, try putting in your “spiritual earbuds” and drown out those negative influences with a good book, audio Bible, some good preaching, or worshipful music. It can go a long way to helping your marriage survive.

You have a double assignment today:

1) Visit at least one of these sites this week.
2) Give your beloved a big hug and a kiss every day!

How are you doing? Let us know!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is MineWhatjoyismine.com

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

…While Mama is on the Computer

I really wanted to have a much nicer, kinder post today, but I feel this is what God would have me post. In fact, I even wrote about 2 or 3 other posts, in the hopes that one of them would work, but this is what is on my heart. If it’s a little heavy, that’s because I’m burdened about the families I see completely unravelling. Let us learn from their mistakes, and not repeat them ourselves.

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Mama is tired. She’s had 3 kids in 5 years, and it’s time for the oldest to begin school. Hubby naturally wants dinner sometimes, and the laundry is always screaming quietly from its corner. The baby still gets up during the night, and sometimes wakes up brother, too.

Mama is just plain ol’ tired.

So Mama sits, and she rests. And she gets on the computer. Here, she has a whole new world at her fingertips – one that has no demands, no schedules, and no screaming. The bloggers are kind, understanding, and encouraging. And what about her Facebook friends? They’re always there, and there’s always something new and different going on. Sarah’s boy wet himself in Walmart – hilarious! Isn’t Jennie’s new baby is so cute with her new tooth?

Real life slides by, while Mama sits. While Mama rests. Her baby gets a new tooth, but all it means to her is more work. Her boy wets himself in Walmart, and it’s soooo embarrassing!

“Oh, Mama, look at this picture I drew!” her boy, now 9, tells her. Mama tears her eyes away from the screen long enough to give it a quick glance. “Oh, that’s nice,” she mutters.

Time keeps rolling, and Mama is still on the computer. She rarely plays with the kids, because she’s just so stressed. And her husband? Well, he’s going to have to meet his own needs, I guess.

Years roll by. Her children are teens and have their own computers. Her husband spends all his spare time “meeting his own needs” at his very private computer in the spare office. Only God knows what the young people are into!

But Mama is tired. She’s tired of life, and she’s tired of it all. Mama doesn’t care what they do, as long as she can get on Facebook and read her blogs.

Her family simply falls apart…and it all happened While Mama is on the Computer.

Oh, yes, I have been tired! With 7 kids, many of them born in rapid-fire, years of traveling, and home schooling, I’ve been awfully tired. And as I get older, the temptation is just the same as everyone else’s…to just put my head in the sand and get involved in something else. But I’ve seen families go through the slow suicide of distraction, and I’m asking God to help me stay on track!

How do you stay focused on your family?

Linking up with The Alabaster Jar To Love, Honor and VacuumMercy Ink Blog and Titus Two Tuesdays