Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anger: Putting Out the Fire

I come by it naturally.

It is in my nature to get miffed, upset, and/or angry when things don't go the way I expect or desire.

I can feel the tension growing inside me.

I try to suppress it,

           to keep the hot, burning "fire" contained,

but every once in awhile the fire of anger becomes wild, out of control and out


                 my cruel, raging words and dark feelings.

We all know that good things aren't going to happen when an uncontrolled, all-consuming fire is loose in the home.

That is what unrighteous anger is.

It consumes and damages all in its path.

The Bible says in James 1:20 that the wrath (or anger) of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Man's wrath damages and does not bring about any good.

This unrighteous way of dealing with anger is in my nature - my sinful nature -, but I don't want my sinful nature to have dominion over me.

In fact God says our nature needs to die and a new godly nature needs to replace it. It is the only way to truly deal with and extinguish the fire of an angry spirit.

How is this miracle of obtaining a godly nature (for it certainly is one!) to take place?

Galations 2:20 says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

I don't believe we can win the battle over our sins by ourselves. Not by a long shot. We need real, serious help. We need power to overcome.

And in Christ we have all of this through faith. He is that ever-present Help in time of need that we so desperately need.

But once we have recognized we have a problem and given it to Christ,

then what?

Are you suddenly free of anger? Never again will you lash out at someone? No more grumbling under your breath about what so-and-so did?

Sometimes God does take it away immediately, but usually it is a process that takes time.

He wants us to learn to lean on Him and to walk with Him. And THAT takes time and experience.

Learning to cooperate with God and really LONG for His righteousness so that we choose not to want to do ANYTHING to separate us from Him is the work of sanctification. It is the process of being made into His image.

Paul talks about this in Colossians 2:6,7: "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."

Paul also said in Ephesians 4:31,32: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you".

In other words, once we have been "crucified" with Christ and given Him our sin, we are to then walk by faith the path that Christ did. The old self is dead. Live in the new nature.

This is not our works. It is Christ working in us. He will not work in us without our permission. He gives us a choice and always honors our choice. When we choose to let Him work and live in us, we must cooperate with Him and walk in His ways - not by our own strength, but by leaning and trusting and looking always to Him.

Here are some tips that I have found helpful in overcoming anger and abiding in His presence.

1). Start your day talking to God and surrendering your day to Him. I do this before I am even out of bed. It doesn't have to take very long. Acknowledge Him and ask Him to lead you today.

2). Talk with Him throughout your day. This is the "pray without ceasing" mandate found in 1 Thess. 5:17. It doesn't require getting on your knees and closing your eyes in prayer. You can talk to Him in your thoughts at any time throughout your day. He is your ever-present help and companion.

3). Read your Bible and claim promises for your life. Make them personal and believe that they are meant for you.

4). Live in His presence. Would you really get angry if you believed that He was right there in the room with you? Imagine that He is seated in the same room as you are, for really He is truly there. (Matt. 28:20)

5). Stop, drop and roll. Isn't that what we learned to do if our clothes catch fire? Well, when you are angry, you are in essence on fire! So when you become aware that your anger is rising you need to:

                                      a). Stop.  Stop what you are doing.

                               b). Drop.  Drop your expectations of that other person or situation. Forgive and trust.

                               c). Roll.    Roll with it. Do the next thing. Breathe and carry on looking onto Jesus.

6). Realize that God always has a way of escape. It is not usually difficult to find. Many times the best response to anger is silence.

7). Forgive others. Most of us have real hurts from the past. These hurts and injustices can trigger present-day anger and need to be dealt with. As God reminds you of them, give them to Him. Forgive those who have hurt you. Relinquish all your hurts and feelings to Christ and accept healing in exchange. Realize that forgiveness is an act, not a feeling.

8). Forgive yourself. No matter what you have done in the past, God can and will forgive you when you come to Him in sincerity and earnestness asking for His forgiveness and mercy. He will wash you "whiter than snow". We all need it. Continually.

Walking with Jesus through faith in Him and allowing Him to clean you up and change you into His image is a lifetime process and an absolute must for the Christian.

With Christ as our Master, our Guide, our Light, our Friend, He will douse the fire of an angry spirit that will never burn again. He will change us into His image. He is our victory.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pocket Purse

When I lived in Germany a few years ago, our landlord had given us the keys to the house attached to a small zippered pouch. The key could fit in the pouch, and also my credit card. Instead of lugging a big heavy purse around (and who wanted that when biking or walking to the store?) I just used the key pouch as my purse. It fit in my pocket. It was light and small. I loved it!

When I returned to the U.S., I missed the pouch purse, but had a hard time finding one similar to it in the stores. That has changed over the years, and now you can find small wrist wallets or pouches for purchase.

Recently, I stumbled on cute zippered pouches on pinterest that one can sew up with very little time or effort. I was hooked! I was going to make one of these!

I looked at my stash of fabric remnants I store in a large plastic bin and found the perfect faux fur material leftover from a winter scarf I made a few years ago. I grabbed some beautiful gold material for the lining, and I was on my way! I needed a zipper. I didn't have any new zippers laying around and didn't want to make a run to the store.

Lightbulb!  I have lots of the boys' jeans laying in my sewing closet for refashioning into quilts and rugs and such. I could just remove the zipper from the jeans! Yes! A seam-ripper and about 15 minutes is all you need.

To start, cut your exterior material, lining, and stiff interfacing into 5"x9" rectangles. I trimmed the interfacing to make it about 1/4" smaller on all edges.

You'll also need two small rectangles (1 1/2" x 3") for the zipper tabs.

Trim the zipper, if necessary, to match the width of the exterior material.
Fold the tabs in half (match the small ends), reopen, and then fold the small ends in to meet at the fold line. Insert an end of the zipper, with the folded end of the material toward the teeth of the zipper.  Hand baste and then sew with machine. Do this on both ends of zipper.

Iron the interfacing to the back side of the exterior material.

Next, sandwich the zipper between the materials. Exterior fabric facing up, zipper facing down toward exterior fabric, and the lining face down on top of the pile. I goofed on the next few pictures by forgetting to add my tabs to the zipper first.  I had to rip the zipper out partially and add the tabs. (I won't make that mistake again!)

Sew along the top edge with a zipper foot.

When you open it up, it should look like this (except yours should have the zipper
cut to size with the tabs sewn on!) :

Now set the unsewn edge of the zipper on the top of the opposite end of the exterior fabric, and top with the opposite edge of the lining, facing down. Sew this edge. It should look like this when you are done:

If you would like to have a handle on your bag, tie a knot in a piece of cording.

Insert the cording where you would like the handle to be. Be sure the loop is enclosed inside!

For this next step, be sure the zipper is half open to allow for turning. If you leave it closed, you will be in a pickle. Sew up the sides of the exterior and lining leaving a hole in the lining for turning. I wanted the zipper to be on the side instead of the top, so I sewed the exterior with that arrangement. If you would like to do the same, you need to sew the lining with the same arrangement so it fits well without bunches.

Clip your corners to eliminate bulk and then turn the fabric right side out. Sew up the hole in the lining, and voila! You have a lovely pocket purse!

 I think the repurposed zipper looks pretty good on my pocket purse.  What do you think?

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