Family Functions

While reading articles on the web; I could not help but notice the repeated theme about how families can handle the stress of family get-togethers. Why are family functions some of the sweetest times of our holiday, but also some of our most stressful? Well, every family has problems, tensions, and dysfunctions, and those don’t take holiday breaks. It requires a lot of energy to care for a crowd, no matter how much we love them. Even the godly Martha became overwrought when Jesus brought His disciples for supper.

Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40

Here are two suggestions to keep you from being swept away by the stress of family:  

First, don’t be afraid to establish healthy boundaries. Give yourself permission to duck out of the room, escape the mob, and let them fend for themselves. If we’re the ones dropping in on others, sometimes it’s best to get a hotel room rather than crash in the spare room.

Second, make sure you don’t skimp on your devotional time with Christ. Martha needed to take a lesson from Mary’s book and sit at Jesus’ feet a while—and so do you. We love others best by loving Him more.

 

 

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The Battle: “Mind” Field

Jesus Christ was once asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 

The great teacher and writer Oswald Chambers wrote, “Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.” I believe that is true and if the mind is greatly valued by God; then you can be sure Satan is going  to fight it. The mind is the most important part of spiritual warfare. It is amazing how little Christ-followers give attention to safeguarding their minds.

Satan does not own this world but he does have access to it. His influence is seen everywhere – in government, education, entertainment, the family, business…everywhere! That is why Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”  And yet we allow just about any thought to enter our thinking.

On the battlefield one of the most dangerous places is a mine field.  What makes it so dangerous is that you do not know where the explosive are hidden.The enemy is not going to put little red flags everywhere a mine is planted. That is why you need to ask yourself, “Where did that thought come from?”

Every temptation has its origin in the mind. It is a thought before it is an action. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:28] The implication is what you are dwelling on in your mind.

“Satan is more concerned about what you think and believe than anything else.” [David Jeremiah] We must not fall for Satan’s trap. “I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.” [2 Corinthians 2:11]

The battle is for your mind. Guard Your heart.

Tight Squeeze

Most of us have heard the expression “between a rock and a hard place.”  The dictionary defines this phrase as “facing  two equally unpleasant, dangerous, or risky alternatives where the avoidance of one ensures the encountering of the harm of the other.”  Jacob facing an angry brother;  Israel facing Red Sea;

We have all been at “that place” some time in our lives.  James 1:2-4  In  2 Corinthians that speaks on our troubles not lasting forever and that these troubles and situations that we are faced with actually help to produce a glory that vastly outweighs any of them. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

We all experience times of adversity in our lifetime. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Turn to God and His words during times of adversity for strength and comfort. When we put our faith in him, he will help guide us to the path of happiness and peace.

And if you want to experience a rock/hard place in reality; go through Fat Man Squeeze at Rock City, Chattanooga.

Rock City

Friend (s)

Image result for friends images

 

The world often judges us by your friends but not everyone who says they are a friend is a friend. Samson/Delilah. Jesus /Disciples. The truth is we have many acquaintances but few friends. (This especially true among men.)

Most everyone wants friends but don’t expect to have friends if you are not friendly. If you have a good friend – you are blessed.You will always a friend in Jesus.

What does it take to be God’s friend? James 2:23 God does not need a friend but am I getting close to being God’s friend?

1. Abraham had his priority straight. Abraham chooses God over a property. Lot – Genesis 13. Seek first the Kingdom of God – Matthew 6:33

2. God and Abraham did not always agree. Good friends will listen to other. Sodom and Gomorrah. God listened and agreed not to destroy the city.

 

Pickle-Down Economics

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.  2 Corinthians 1:1-3 

This past June, Hunter Hostetler was working at a McDonald’s restaurant in Scottsburg, Indiana, when an older woman came through the drive-thru and decided to pay for the customer behind her—a man with four children in the van. The woman told Hunter to tell the man and his children, “Happy Father’s Day.” The woman’s spontaneous act of kindness caused an amazing chain reaction. The man in the van paid for two cars behind him; and they did the same for those who followed them. One customer after another passed along the blessings. By the end of the day, 167 drivers had paid for the orders of the vehicle behind them.

Make a conscious effort to pass along kindness to someone today.

(This thought is from David Jeremiah’s Turning Point daily devotional)

Your Legacy

Image result for legacyWe all know that no one gets out of this earthly life alive. (And just as each person is destined to die… Hebrews 9:27) Yet many come to the end of life and have not prepared a will. A will is “a legal document that indicates how the person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after their death.
Some legacies can be…

1. Thoughtful and kind. The legendary comedian, Jack Benny, stipulated in his will that his wife Mary was to receive a single red rose, symbolic of love & devotion, on the day following the anniversary of his passing away and that the practice would continue until the death of his spouse.

2. Some wills are cruel. Jerry Lewis, another legendary comedian, certainly got the last laugh when it came to his strained relationship with his children. According to his Last Will and Testament, the funnyman emphatically cut out all six children he had with his first wife Patti Palmer — meaning they would inherit nothing.

One of the definitions of a “legacy” “is anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor:” I am very concerned of the legacy I leave for my children, grandchildren, and some day great-grandchildren. I will not leave them great wealth or huge tracts of land but the legacy I wish to leave behind is that they know God intimately and have experienced His presence in their lives.

As a young believer, I was taught some very valuable spiritual “disciplines.” Prayer, Giving, Faithfulness, Fasting, Reading God’s Word just to name a few.  Practising these “disciplines” did not produces salvation but they will help me grow in my walk with Christ. I was taught the most important thing in life was knowing and serving God. 

The more I observe the church, the more I see the erosion of deeply held truths and convictions. I am afraid that Judges 2:7 “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work which the Lord had done for Israel.” While the memory of God’s greatness and the work he did for Israel was alive, the people maintained their devotion to God. But verse 10 says that after the death of Joshua and those who had seen God’s mighty acts, “there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel.” And the result of this ignorance is given in verse 11, “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…”

I want my grandchildren (and great grandchildren) to grow up knowing, loving, and serving God.

 

Look To The Son

A few weeks ago much of the United States experienced a solar eclipse. Thousands of people flocked to areas to get the best view of this rare phenomenon. The media warned the public that looking directly at the sun, without proper protection, could cause serious damage to your eyes.

In contrast, the Word of God tells us to look to the “SON.” The Son is Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 12:2 “We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete…” 

What does it mean to look to Jesus?

1. Looking means leaning.

Looking to Jesus means relying on him. The word translated “looking” has the idea of zeroing our gaze on something with confidence. The NIV captures it: “fixing our eyes.” As our help, Jesus is the one from whom we draw power. He is the one who has given us life (John 5:21) and has sent the Helper to be with us forever (John 14:16). We run this race only because of his word and only by the power of his Spirit. So we look to him. We lean on him.

2. Looking means not looking.

Another aspect embedded in this idea of looking is that we look without distractions. When we look to Jesus it means we are not looking at anything else. Looking to Jesus means looking to him alone. Looking to Jesus means he is our reward.

It is Jesus himself. Jesus is our goal. To look to him means to love him, to yearn to be with him, to see him as he his, to live in fellowship with him forever