Sounds like a recipe doesn’t it? Or one of those headlines on the front of a magazine. The fact is, God has not made it impossible to encourage those around us. The apostle Paul tells us to encourage (I Thessalonians 5:11). So how do I do that and why does HE command it of me?
The life of a Christian can be full of joy. Freedom from sin is the BIGGEST reason for that! Those still wrapped up in sin don’t seem to understand the peace that comes with redemption. However, life does have its trials and tribulations and people, more times than not, contribute to that. I am sure you are recounting numerous times it has happened to you. Why does it happen? Well…because people get fixated on themselves. They want the fun life. They want the popular life. They want the “me” life.
Of the 107 times scripture refers to taking action with others….14 of those are about encouragement, which can transform peoples lives. It’s incredible how an action or word can bring joy…or discouragement. I would like to chose the former…wouldn’t you?
So what’s the ONE EASY STEP? Here it is….Philippians 2:3-4…. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
There you have it…considering others better than yourselves. If we would all practice that…there would be MUCH LESS discouragement and MUCH MORE JOY! Sure sounds like something I want to do. How about you?
It’s a hot topic and usually aimed at girls, but modesty is for boys too. How do you teach your son respect for himself, his body and how that reflects on his character as a Christian?
First I think we need to realize that girls have sexual thoughts too about young men. When they see a bare chest or those speedos on a guy they might like or “think is cute”…his lack of discretion with clothing himself is contributing to that in the same way as girls who show thighs, bare shoulders and cleavage.
I like the way this author put it….
“This is strange. Women may be shedding clothes this time of year, but so are men. Why are we only talking about female modesty? If modesty is important then it is important for all Christians. If it isn’t important for men, then why all the fuss about women? If it is important for women, why the silence about men?”
Exactly! Why are we excluding our sons from the issue of modesty? I don’t know…I think we’ve just accepted that it’s no big deal. But for our young girls, our women, it can be a big deal. They are sexual beings too and our sons must learn to respect that. In a post by a minister regarding the teens where he worships, he overheard one girl say this when she had been at the lake with some friends… “After one lake outing I did hear a faithful girl say, “Wow! ________ looks fiiiiine with those 6-pack abs!” It was clear she was not talking about one of her female friends.”
So Moms…we have a responsibility to our sons to teach respect of bodies. Modesty is a heart issue. It’s a reflection of our relationship with God in the way we dress. Modesty recognizes the weakness of others and would do nothing to gain attention through clothing, or lack thereof, or present a temptation.
For the first time in my life, I am wanting to write a letter to the President of the United States…but I don’t think he cares what I think. As we celebrate the history of this country on July 4th, somehow there doesn’t seem much to celebrate about how far we “haven’t” come.
I will always respect the office of the President because of what that office has been designated to do. However, respect has to be earned. My first and foremost allegiance is to God and His authority. I am committed to Him. I love what HE loves and hate what HE hates. But somehow, that has completely turned around. Our country…as it appears…wants to love what God hates. And how does it get that way? Well…leadership has the major impact on that drift. Our President…in just a short amount of time, has taken a country who feared God and is attempting to shape it into a country who spits in His face.
As Christians we are either on board with God’s ways or straddling the fence with the ways of man. Can we not ask ourselves who would best support the values of the Almighty? Can we not take a stand…have some backbone…and say “I am on the Lord’s side…Master here am I?”
Oh I know there are some political issues that will always be controversial. But putting a person in power who will attempt to take me farther and farther away from God, is not up for choosing.
On this fourth of July…we had better be praying publicly about the future of this country and acknowledge Who is really in power. Own it. Be loyal to the One to whom you dedicated your life and make His ways your ways. Otherwise…we are headed for a disaster.
I am haunted by something that happened at the assisted living where my Mom lives. I was doing some photography for the facility by taking pictures of their veterans where they proudly display them on the “Wall of Fame.” I had one more veteran scheduled and was waiting. The activities director came to tell me he wouldn’t be coming. “Is he sick?”…I asked. The activities director then informed me of his “sickness.” The problem…he was “heart sick.” Father’s Day had been the week before and none of his children called him…none.
There have always been children who have neglected parents…but, in my opinion, there seems to be more acceptance of tossing parents to the side. Entitlement goes so far to say… “You aren’t worthy of my time.” Until you are a parent of a grown child, you cannot possibly understand how incidents like the one told, are heart breaking.
Exodus 20:12 says…“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Do you realize this is a command with a promise. Honoring your parents will allow YOU longer days in the land God gave you. Of all the 10 commandments…this is the one the extra tag on it. Obviously it was important enough..to God…that HE wanted to make sure we understood the value.
ALL parents have made mistakes. Some of their mistakes have larger consequences…or at least should. However…respect is a must when it comes to dealing with parents. Even as adult children, one can respect a parent without condoning behavior that is contrary to God’s will.
I am going back today to take this man’s picture. His wife convinced him to do it. Every veteran that comes for pictures gets a big handshake from me and a “Thank you for serving our country.” I haven’t found one yet who doesn’t accept that gratitude with humility. I am hoping a small gesture of gratitude can somehow dull the ache of ungrateful children and maybe give him a smile…at least for the moment.
I get weary. I get weary with some who pride themselves in being different only to end up like “everyone else.” Usually these people will “drop” an idea out there in hopes the rest of us will take hold and go “WHAT?” It’s those folks who like a reaction…they drop a “bomb” in the middle of the room and sit back to observe the frenzy. It’s the desire to be different…unique…intriguing… about themselves.
The reality of it all is this type of “attention getting” makes them just like everybody else because everybody else is not really different. We are like herding animals…a desire to be with one another and “fit in.”
Being “different” doesn’t require any type of grand statement or action. Being different is simple. Following Christ is simple in that it’s not an attention getting…”look at what I do” type of service. It’s a humble spirit combined with a willing heart to serve our fellow man and teach by example. Christians are shining lights in that we illuminate what is in darkness…sin. We are the called out…which should make us different enough to draw others to Him.
What a horrifying thought…the devil with my kids! Don’t think for one moment that the devil doesn’t watch your kids. He does and he finds way to get at them…and maybe through you!
If the devil can convince you that stepping up to parent is too hard…then he will take over your job. He loves inconsistent parents. And he loves parents who are afraid of making their children mad. Inconsistency and fear will produce children who have little respect for you and God. It will create children who learn how to “behave” when someone is watching.
I am concerned about this time of year when vacations come about and little preparation is made for worship. Better yet some view vacation as literally a “time out” from “having to do” anything related to being a Christian. Wear what you want to wear…go where you want to go…say what you want to say. God surely isn’t everywhere is he? And He doesn’t expect us to make vacation plans around HIM does He? You see this is when the Devil has won. The thinking is more about self and less about God. Your plans are not His plans. Your ways are not His ways.
Parents…the greatest gift you can give your child is not a sense of entitlement. It’s not a fine wardrobe or a trip to an exotic place. The greatest gift you can give is a foundation that is firmly planted in His word. When your kids are grounded…they will respect you because they respect Him. They will be 24/7 believers who understands that Christianity is a lifestyle…not a clock-in/clock-out job.
They will be genuine in their faith and grasp the realness of the devil.
Cover your children with the Word so they may be protected from wrong thinking. Give them tools to fight the clever ways of Satan and help them learn the power of prayer with their Savior who loves them more than you do.