Tag Archives: help

Learning to Give

The following story provides a good illustration for a person with the good character of giving:  “Marquis de Lafayette was a French officer who provided invaluable assistance to George Washington and the struggling American army. After the war was over, he returned to France and resumed his life as a farmer of many estates. In 1783, the harvest was a terrible one, and there were many who suffered as a result. Lafayette’s farms were unaffected by the devastating crop failures. One of his workers offered what seemed to be good advice to Lafayette, “The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat. This is the time to sell.” After thinking about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages, Lafayette disagreed and said, “No, this is the time to give.”” (Daniel Loy)

Giving may not be a very natural human response.  In fact, when you think of your own life, it may be that much of what you do is collect, save, and accumulate – for yourself.  Giving is a learned habit for the Christian.  One of the spiritual gifts in Romans 12 is giving.  Romans 12:8 says “…he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” 

Those with the spiritual gift of giving, give far greater than a mere 10%.  Along with the call and gift of giving the Lord gives the means to give.  The Christian who exercises his spiritual gift of giving will be blessed in material ways because he has been faithful to give to others what God has given to him.

Just because a Christian may not have the “spiritual gift” of giving does not mean that he should not be give.  Even those gifted in other areas have a responsibility to God and their local church to be good stewards of the finances God has entrusted to them.  Giving is something that is learned.  It is a practice that is developed as our faith is developed.

The Lord has much to say in the Bible about giving to spiritual endeavors and the needs of those around us.  Here are several examples:

  • Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7
  • Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass… Exodus 35:5
  • If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.  Deuteronomy 15:7-8
  • Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.  For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.  2 Corinthians 8:11-12

Perhaps we could be like Marquis de Lafayette, who when confronted with becoming more rich, he chose to give to those in need.  After all, in Heaven, the way we use our money – not how much money we have is how the Lord measures our faithfulness as managers and stewards of His provision.

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A Simple Life

A Simple Life

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3

Have you felt overwhelmed lately with the busyness of life?  I am trying to slow down on purpose to be more reflective and thoughtful.  Perhaps you are busy right now.  Us Americans tend to rush to this event then run to that event. We barely make it to work, school, or church on time.  Many arrive late, if they arrive at all.  Depending on your life stage and if there are kids in your home you are running them all around as well.

Why are we in such a hurry?  Why is life so busy?

  1. We have the same amount of time as we have always had. 24 hours a day.
  2. We attempted to crowd more things into those 24 hours.
  3. With the promise of more leisure time, we depend on electronics and technology.
  4. Even with the fluctuation of inflation, and the value of the American dollar, we have more money and resources than any nation or people in the history of the world.

Is it possible that while we may be “getting more done” that we are actually accomplishing less?  The answer to that question’s rests primarily on your list of priorities.

  • When was the last time you began a new meaningful relationship and friendship with a person or family at church?
  • When was the last time you gave a gospel tract to a neighbor or spoke to an acquaintance about Jesus?
  • When was the last time you prayed before the Sunday morning Bible study and church service and participated with gladness?
  • When was the last time you and those in your household opened a Bible and prayed together?
  • When was the last time everyone in your house enjoyed a dinner together around the table with no television or cellphones taking away from the moment?

One of Satan’s greatest and most effective strategies has been to keep good people busy doing good things, so they cannot engage in the more important and best things.  Satan remains subtle in many ways today.  Most Christians do not run after gross and obvious sin.  Adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, are not usually where good people start to drift.  It is in the seemingly small and mundane things.  They go after potentially good things and are so busy the neglect the best things.  Before long, the best is squeeze out of their lives.

Renowned scientist of yesteryear, Albert Einstein said:

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

I like that thought.

Are you too busy?  Feeling overworked, stressed, and frazzled?  Try taking some of the non-essentials out.  Be sure to continue or start the basic expectations of the Christian life.  The times of solitude in prayer, moments of discussion with family, and the accountability of being with others in church will only refresh and encourage you.

Sports teams, dance and art class, the local school, and the lessons you signed up for cannot replace the simple things that God has given to us – in Jesus.

While Satan is making life complicated and adding new priorities to your list – Jesus is simplifying our life! He wants you to enjoy the simple things and to find meaning in “being with Jesus” not just running around trying to achieve things in so many areas of life.  With all the available “distractions” it is a wonder that anyone goes to church or opens a Bible any more.  Yes, it is that bad for many people.

Learn from Jesus in Matthew 11:29, He said: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  While Satan wants you to carry your own weight in being busy in life, Jesus wants you to find rest.  Don’t “yoke up” with Satan or this world!  Jesus has a different and better pace of life based on relationship with Him.  It is OK to slow down.  It is good to reassess and refocus the direction of your life.  Take a step back: “Am I running all over when God wants to give me rest?”  Or: “Am I so busy that I no longer have time for God? Family?” Or: “for the things that really matter most in life?”

Find a simpler life in Jesus.  Put the main things in life – first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Then I Can Be a Helper”

“Then I Can Be a Helper”

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  Proverbs 31:20

Many churches all across the US conducts their own Vacation Bible School during the fleeting summer months.  Thousands of children and families are exposed to the Gospel and taught the Bible in a fun filled way.  Recently Wilton Baptist Church hosted our annual 6 night VBS.   The entire team from the check in people, to the “banker,” the teachers, game and craft leaders and our “mad” scientist did a great job!  We thank the Lord for their work.  A spirit of teamwork and excellence was evident each night.  In fact, it was in many ways our best VBS ever.

Talking to our 5th grader about VBS I suggested that she only has one more year left of VBS.  While the thought of her being “too old” to attend and participate as a student was not that exciting, she simply said: “…Then I can be a helper at VBS.”

I am thankful for her heart of wanting to continue to be involved in VBS.  When things are happening at church, you may notice in your children, they want to be involved.  Kids need to know they belong and their is a place of service and ministry for the, today.  Our kids do not have to “grow up” before serving Jesus.  Part of their “Growing up” is serving Jesus today.

Be encouraged to nurture a spirit of participation in your kids.  They may outgrow certain events, and reach “age limits” for VBS, camp, etc, but they should never outgrow an attitude of wanting to be involved in the work of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Kind, Kind Of…

Be Kind

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

“A church usher was instructing a young successor in the details of his office. “And remember, my boy,” he concluded, “that we have nothing but good kind Christians in this church until you try to seat someone else in their chair.” (6000)

I have always enjoyed that little story.  It is true that sometimes when we change the routine and seemingly insignificant expectations of some people they can become very angry!  Some of us are “kind” just part of the time.  We could be “kind of kind” but that is not really being kind!

The Bible commands and admonishes us to “be kind one to another.” This is written to the church members of a church in a city called Ephesus.  These were people who lived busy lives in an ancient world trading capitol.  There were false gods in the city and the famous Temple of Diana where all sorts of evil originated and was conveyed into their society.  It was to these Christian people that God said – “Be ye kind.

Ye Kind” is taken from the Greek word: “chrestos” which means to be “employed.”  You may never have guessed that definition and origin of the word “kind!”  It really helps us understand the significance as to how to go about being kind.

Like you are employed at your job or occupation, the Lord wants us to be employed in the area of kindness.  Be kind to the family members in your home.  Be kind to the church members at your local church.  Be kind to other Christians in the body of Christ.  Be kind o your neighbor who does not yet know Jesus.  Be kind.

In other words: Leave the other person better off than when you first interacted with them…

Here are 3 considerations.

  1. I need to think right about people. If I am thinking about how I can take advantage of other people, I cannot be kind to them.  That is what Ephesians 5:31 is speaking about: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
  2. I need to have compassion for other people. Tenderhearted in verse 32 is speaking of compassion.  We live in a day when many people have more compassion on a baby elephant than they do for a homeless man.  Many are more compassionate about baby dolphins than they are about human babies that are being murdered in abortion.  Have some godly concern for others. Know their condition.  Try to help meet a need.
  3. I must have forgiveness in my heart for others. For the sake of Jesus – God forgave your sin.  For the sake of Jesus – you can forgive the sin and wrong that others have projected against you.  Forgiving is not the same as forgetting, we will never forget.  But we can be like God Who in Hebrews 13:13, “remembers no more” our sin and wrong.  While God never forgets, He chooses not to think about our sin.  When we forgive others, we are being like God! And God wants us to be more like Him!

One final thought.  I am not a “kind person” if I am thinking of how to hurt or take advantage of others.  I am not a “kind person” if I am not actively showing compassion to others.  I am not a “kind person” if I am not demonstrating true forgiveness to other people.

Ask God to help you – you can be a kind person today!  Be employed at being kind to others.  It is a “job” that God has called each of us to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think You Have A Headache Today?

Think You Have A Headache Today?

I read an article this week about a surgery performed on the wrong patient! Melanie Dadourian writes: “Doctors in Nairobi have been suspended for performing brain surgery on the wrong patient. A case of mistaken identification tags caused a mix-up between two patients — one needed surgery for a blood clot on the brain, the other just nursing and non-invasive treatment for swelling after a head trauma.  It wasn’t until hours into the surgery that doctors discovered there was no blood clot, according to a report from the BBC news service.”

Wow.  The wrong surgery on the wrong person for the wrong health need is a real problem indeed.  Now both patients had a severer headache!  Perhaps your headache does not feel as bad after reading this!

Doctors tell me that most headaches are caused by a lack of hydration.  When you learned about drinking 8 or more cups of water today in school, it was good advice!  Some headaches are caused by chemical issues in the brain. Sometimes its trauma or head trauma related.  Even when the eyes do not properly process sunlight a headache could occur. Sinus issues can contribute to them.  Sometimes tumors and abnormal growths are the culprit.  Many times, stress can create headaches.

Perhaps all of us have heard someone say something to the effect that another person caused their headache!  Actually – other people cannot cause our headaches.  How we process situations (our reactions or responses) would be the cause.  The external circumstances another person brings to bear does not enter into our head and cause the headache.  How we interpret and relate to the “potentially stressful situations” makes a big difference. We could call these types of headaches – “Relational Headaches.”

Each of us have processes (ways of interpreting and evaluating data) and responses to stimuli or circumstances.  How we respond can cause more problems (headaches) or cause more peace, and tranquility.

Here are some “Heart Remedies for Relational Headaches…”

  1. Cast Your Cares to the Lord. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Please know that humility and releasing the burden and weight of a situation go together.  A proud person will try to fix it, carry it or resolve it on his own.  He may create a self-induced headache because he is not humble enough to trust God and accept His outcomes.  We cannot change people; but we can allow the Lord to change us.  Give your concern to God today.  All relationships are helped when we carry less guilt, grief, or weight into them.

  1. Commit Your Way to the Lord. Psalm 37:4-5 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Wanting more, wanting our way, and demanding our “rights” are good ways to acquire and sustain a headache.  When we delight in God, His Word, and His way for living, we are given more than we could ever hope for.  Because this is not always tangible and physical it is often overlooked.  The Lord can bring to pass any hope, dream, or aspiration that He places in your heart.  Our part in this is to “delight in Him.”  When we commit all our way to God we find the satisfaction in life that God has promised to us.

  1. Confess Your Need for the Lord. Colossians 1:18 And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  And Colossians 2:10 And ye (Christians) are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

One preacher at church recently quoted a missionary and said: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”  I like the statement.  It seems most Christians do the attempting but do not do the expecting.  When we assume leadership, authority, or expectations that God did not give to us, we are sure to create our own headaches or even give cause for contributing to a headache in other people.

We need God.  The local church is His church.  Jesus is the Head.  When we try take leadership instead of servanthood, we err.  We are complete in Jesus.  When we serve, allowing the Lord to do the thinking, planning, directing, and overseeing, we lesson the likelihood of relational headaches that would otherwise occur.  God may or may not use us, or other people to fulfill His plan.  Whether at home, church, or in the community, when we follow the leadership of Christ – is helps us!

If you have a headache today – it could be worse.  You could be contributing to a relational headache that the Lord never intended for you to have.  May these 3 simple truths be a help to you today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Drink Later

One Drink Later

A military chaplain once told me a story of a teenager who enlisted.  This recruit grew up in a conservative church like ours with parents who loved Jesus. One night he, with his new army buddies he went out on the town.  He had never had a drop of alcohol in his life.  They coaxed him into drinking.  The next day, he woke up in a jail cell with a blood-stained shirt on.  He had no memory of what happened.  A fight had broken out in the bar and he stabbed a man – who later died.  At the age of 19 he had a life sentence.  He sobbed – “IF I had only listened to my parents, teachers and pastor.”  One night. One choice. One drink led to a lifetime of sorrow. We make meaningful decisions each day.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  1 Corinthians 6:12

The following stats are from NIAAA who monitor Alcohol consumption in America.

“Many young people drink alcohol…

  • By age 15, about 33 percent of teens have had at least 1 drink.1
  • By age 18, about 60 percent of teens have had at least 1 drink.1
  • In 2015, 7.7 million young people ages 12–20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.

Youth ages 12 to 20 often binge drink…

  • People ages 12 through 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States.3 Although youth drink less often than adults do, when they do drink, they drink more. That is because young people consume more than 90 percent of their alcohol by binge drinking. Binge drinking is consuming many drinks on an occasion (see box). Drinking alcohol and binge drinking become more prevalent as young people get older.
  • 1 million young people reported binge drinking (for males 5 or more drinks and for females 4 or more drinks on the same occasion within a few hours) at least once in the past month.2
  • 3 million young people reported binge drinking on 5 or more days over the past month.”

The damage done to the brain and thinking processes of a person who is consuming alcohol cannot be denied.  For reasons of pleasure, pain, or forgetting a problem, some people resort to drinking.  While mainstream culture promotes and makes alcohol popular, the true issues it and other substance abuse cause is seldom told or not fully understood in stark reality.  Broken homes, bruised bodies, car wrecks, and poor judgment are frequent and extremely common.

Many people I have counseled with who grew up in homes where alcohol ruled, decided against drinking alcohol themselves because of the first-hand problems they saw it create.  Alcohol does not “cause for a good time” like some people say.  It creates at atmosphere of foolishness and impaired judgment.  People can have fun at parties and have a good time hanging out with friends because of the people they are with and the things they are doing together – not because of a mind changed under the power and effect of alcohol.  To say: “I can’t have a good time without drinking” is one way of devaluing friendships.  Alcohol is in control of a person who says things like that. Enjoy the moment with the people you love.  Who wouldn’t want to remember “such a good time” to have good memories instead of foggy memories?

The Apostle Paul is teaching the Corinthian church that even if something is lawful – it does not mean it is good for me.  Even if I can – does not mean that I should.  Allowing your mind and body to be controlled by any substance or anything out side of the body is a form of addiction.  Drugs, vaping, smoking, drinking alcohol, or any other addiction is not something that you want to be subject to.  One drink later… you could be enslaved.

Parents – do all you can to help your teen not take their first drop of alcohol.  Warn about the dangers.  Teach the Bible admonitions.  Adults, purpose with the Lord’s help to abstain from drinking.  Your thoughts will be clearer, you will sin less, do less harm or evil than while “under the influence” and you will be better prepared for life because your mind is working more efficiently.

Consider in conclusion 2 of the many Bible passages giving ample warning:

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 23:31-35 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder (Snake). Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Ways to Love Your Spouse

8 Ways to Love Your Spouse

I like the Reese hearts and the Russel Stover Chocolates.  My wife likes the chocolates and the red roses too.  Each Valentines day we are all reminded about the special relationships many of us are called by God to enjoy – marriage.  A happy and healthy marriage is possible!

If you and your spouse are having issues, do not wait to get help.  Please call me or another Christian counselor today.  Statistically I read some time ago that couples about to divorce wait 6 years too late to get counseling help.  Good news – your marriage perspective can change overnight with a little positive encouragement from a Christian counselor.

For today’s devotional, here are 8 Bible passages that when applied, can demonstrate love towards your spouse.

  1. Stay physically and emotionally faithful to your spouse alone.  This was declared on your wedding day.  Proverbs 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
  2. Celebrate spiritual, financial, educational, and relational victories. Throw a party for two, go out for coffee, or make a special meal. Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
  3. Be Happy. Happiness is not conditional on circumstances but on the attitude. Happiness is a choice.  Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
  4. Blend everything you do and have together. Feelings, faith, friends, finances, etc. All these things should be combined. Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
  5. Choose to make the spiritually right decision. One of you is probably more spiritual than the other.  While the man should lovingly serve with Biblical leadership in the home, it is not always the case. Choose to have a positive, edifying spirit that will build up the other in the things of God. 1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
  6. Modify expectations while not letting any disappointments change you. He made a mess.  She was not ready for intimacy.  Don’t let circumstances become sources of bitterness.  Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
  7. Understand each other. Know how the other thinks. Know the likes and dislikes.  This is something of a challenge!  1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
  8. Value and treasure the person God gave to you. God gave you a special gift to have as a companion in life.  While some people are called to “singleness” the Lord gave you a “help meet.”  Treasure this gift with all of your heart.  Proverb 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.