“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I am sure that most parents wonder what the future holds for their new child. As a Christ-follower, I believe God has a wonderful plan for every person born. That plan was established before we are born. “Before I shaped you in the womb, I [God] knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you:…” Jeremiah 1:5
In 1969 my wife and I stood at the church altar to dedicate our infant son to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those who maybe unfamiliar with this ceremony; allow me to explain. A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s ways. (See Luke 2:22)
We watched as God took our son and called him to be a pastor. This past Sunday I had the privilege to stand at the church altar and pray for my son as he prepares to go to Guatemala on a Work and Witness missions trip. We never imagined God giving our son the honor of taking the Gospel message to people in another part of the world!
My wife and I would appreciate you praying for our son and the team as they depart tomorrow. Below is a picture of our son [on the right] with a team member from his church.
“I have had the privilege of knowing several couples who have adopted children into their family. One couple had adopted several children from Russia. The children were brothers and sisters and the couple did not want them to be separated.
When a couple goes through the adoption process, their desire is to become parents, to offer a home and a family to a child that has neither. When the adoption process is complete, that child legally becomes a son or daughter.
Think about the spiritual analogies. In adoption, there is a high cost to the parents and no cost to the child. [The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. ] As a Christ-follower, we are heirs to Christ’s Kingdom. We become legal, official children of God. Adoption comes at an enormous cost to the parents.
What does it cost the child? Nothing! It required the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Adoption came at a grace cost to the Father.We are adopted by God for the same reason that any parent adopts – out of seer love. In His great love, He plans adoption, pays the cost, becomes our Father and unites us to a whole family of brothers and sisters.
Life is filled with ups and downs. A loved one passes away while another gives birth. The young college grad launches a new career; while another worker with 20+ years experience is laid off. Ebb and flow.
This weekend is one of those bitter/sweet moments of life. On the “bitter” side, our neighbors and good friends have sold their house and are moving to their retirement home in the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I are going to miss Jack and Celeste greatly. Sad to see them go but we are glad that they are starting a new chapter in their book of life.
On the “sweet” side; the couple who bought our neighbor’s house is my brother and his wife! This is definitely a God “thing! They are retiring from the ministry and are moving to South Carolina. It will be great to have them next door!
This is one of life’s surprises that we never could imagine.
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.
Reposted from Craig & Amy Groeschel’s From This Day Forward
Modern culture tells us we should look for that perfect person: “the one.” If we just find and marry “the one,” everything afterwards is wedded bliss, right? That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation to place on someone. Just think: would you want to be “the one” to bear that responsibility? Then why force those expectations on someone else?
God is the One who completes you. He created you to love Him with your whole heart and to put Him above all else. God is your One. Your spouse is your two. And when the two of you commit to seek God together, you can build a marriage—together—on a firm foundation that will stand the test of time.
What’s something you could ask God to do in you that would make you a better partner to your spouse? Become the kind of person you would want to be married to. Seek the One with your two. Begin by committing to pray together every day, even if it’s through a text message, over the phone, or silently.
People from other countries say that the English language is very difficult to understand. For example: ” don’t make waves around the office.” Meaning – do not cause trouble . You are completely nuts if you think I will go with you. Meaning – You are crazy. Working on a computer for me is a piece of cake. Meaning – Easy to do. There is even a “language” for different sub-cultures. Teens use words that only other teens know what they are saying. Your occupation may use words that only people in your profession understand.
You have probably heard the expression , “I know what I said but I’m not sure what you heard.” Many personal relationships are strained because of what someone said vs. what someone understood. James wrote theses words, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19
It is vital that husbands understand their wives. “Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding… so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.” “Understanding” speaks of being sensitive to your wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. In other words, be thoughtful and respectful. Unfortunately, most husbands do not take the time nor energy to understand their wives.
Remember, God gave you two ears but only one mouth.
There is no question that times have changed. I am not sure when this change happened but their was a time when people knew their neighbors. They not only knew their names but were actually friends! Their relationship went further than a casual wave as they went to work. No longer are houses built with a front porch, why? No one wants people coming by and sitting on their porch, drinking iced tea and just socializing. People go to work early and get home late. Who has time (or energy) to build relationships with neighbors? Who is your neighbor?
I came across a news article that testify to this fact. The remains of a woman were found sitting in front of her TV – 42 years after she was reported missing. Hedviga Golik, who was born in 1924, had apparently made herself a cup of tea before sitting in her favorite armchair in front of her black and white television set. Police said that she was last seen by neighbors in 1966, when she would have been 42 years old. No one checked on her. No one phoned. No family member has claimed the body.
Which brings up the question: Who is your neighbor? Why not make a conscious effort to build a bridge of relationship with that “stranger” [neighbor] next door?