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.

 

 

Advertisements

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

He Will Not Leave You

Image result for jesus in the storms of lifeYou don’t have to be alive very long to hit some rough waters. Everybody’s boat gets rocked from time to time. The wind blows like crazy and you might even take on water. The temptation is to freak out and wonder how—or if—you’ll make it to the other side.

Storms are part of the journey. For me, one of the hardest things is dealing with stuff I can’t fix. I’m tempted to try anyway, but the older I get, the more I realize it just doesn’t work. Some situations are above my pay grade. My fixes are nothing but thick patches on threadbare jeans. They don’t hold very long. I need God to set things right. He’s the only One who can get me unstuck and take me to the other side.

Does that sound familiar? Are certain circumstances getting worse the more you work on them? Are they starting to look like a permanent part of your scenery? When I lived in Pennsylvania, my father taught me how to drive in heavy snow. He said, “Once you commit to driving through deep snow, you don’t stop.” But I know this: you can get unstuck if you keep your faith moving. God’s got you. He won’t leave you there.

If you’re in rough waters and you can’t see the other side, think back to all the times you saw no way out. Remember how He parted the sea, or brought life to something dead, or gave you the strength to take another step. You thought it was “The End,” but Jesus made a way for you—out of no way out

Interruptions (?)

I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)

No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”

1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.

Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.

Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a

DEAD BUT STILL DEADLY

Image result for Facing Your Giants SpiritualThe epic tale of David and Goliath is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. On one side of the Valley of Elah stands the Philistine army, with their nine-foot-tall champion named Goliath. On the other side of valley stands the Israelite army, cowering in fear under the leadership of their king named Saul. For forty days Goliath has been taunting the Israelites and holding them in the grip of fear. Day after day he has been challenging them to send out one soldier to face him man to man. But so far, nobody has volunteered.

Perhaps you can relate to the plight of the Israelites. Some kind of giant is standing before you keeping you from being less than God wants you to be. The good news is that God has made a way for these giants to fall. Jesus came to set you free from the giants who rise up against you and hold you paralyzed in fear.

Jesus has already overcome the enemy. However, as we read in 1 Peter 5:8, the devil still “prowls around . . . looking for someone to devour.” In many ways, he is like a snake with its head cut off. When you kill a snake, you have to be sure to bury its head, because even after death the serpent holds a lethal dose of venom in its fangs. If you step on a dead snake’s head, you can still get poisoned. In the same way, even though Jesus broke the power of Satan at the cross, he can still inject his deadly poison into our lives. He is dead but still deadly.

If you truly want to see victory over the giants in your life, you need to understand your dependency on the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Victory is all about trusting in Christ and not about trying to succeed.

I’m In

I have always been interested in the study words and phrases and their origin. We often use phrases in our conversations but have no idea when or how it was used originally used. For example. we tell someone to “sleep tight” but what does that mean? http://bit.ly/2lhEerY

There is a new (?) phrase I heard that I like; “Are you in?” This phrase doesn’t refer to an amusement park worker asking someone if they are secure in their roller coaster seat. The phrase basically means you are totally committed to a certain plan of action. It means you have my complete support; you can count on me,

When Jesus Christ called His disciples He said, “Follow me!” If Jesus were here today. He might use the phrase, “Are You In?” Being a Christ-follower means you are sold out, totally committed, fully devoted Passionate about Jesus.

Are You In?

Knocked Down but Not Knocked Out

I am sure that all of us can remember a favorite toy we received at Christmas. To be honest I probably had several “favorites” but the one toy that I remember most was a sock-em-bounce-back clown. No matter how hard or which direction you hit it, it would always bounce back.

I may be stretching the analogy a bit but Christians should be able to “bounce back” when struck by life’s “punches.” “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again…Provergs 24:16 I read recently a definition of success that I rather like. “Success is falling down seven times but getting back up eight times.”

The secret of “bouncing back” for that toy and Christ-followers is the balance. Something at the center that brings us back to where we should be. Jesus Christ is our anchor that brings us back to center.

“We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.”