10 Ideas to Stay Engaged with Others in These Unprecendented Times

30 03 2020

A friend wrote to me recently and stated, “We are trying to keep our sanity while working at home, having our children home from school and feeling isolated.”  Well said, because the whole world seems to be on a pause.  It is not a season to fear, but we can embrace this season and believe for some good to come out of it.  So, here are 10 things you can do while feeling a bit like a captive.

 

10. Spend extraordinary time with God. Receive His peace.  Spend spiritual time with your family, praying and bringing them comfort, encouragement and security.  Keep reading and keep praying through Psalm 91 and other scriptures.  God’s word brings certain peace.

9. Go through your phone listing of names and locate those persons that you feel or sense may need a call or an encouraging text message. Let them know you are thinking of them.  Go alphabetically and work through your personal directory of names prayerfully.  Consider doing the same with your email addresses.

8. Ask your spouse how you can serve them. Work on taking shifts with the kids so you can get your personal work accomplished.  Keep some sense of school and learning going with your children.

7. Call your immediate neighbors and arrange a driveway or front porch shout out to one another. Say something like, “At noon on Saturday, let’s all go outside to our front porch or driveway and shout out a greeting to one another.”  Ask everyone how they are doing.  Let them know you care and ask if anyone needs any help.

6. Currently, there is no visitation in senior care homes and rightly so. Do you know someone living in this situation?  Call them or Facetime them so that you can be a voice and a face of encouragement. You can also call and ask if there is a senior who needs to talk to someone as you could volunteer to do so.  Do not forget the incarcerated or those in some form of rehab as well.

5. If you are headed to the store, who can you ask or check with to bring items back for them? We have a recent widow and a woman being cared for who is 100 years old that we keep checking in with.

4. Clean out your attic. It’s a great time to rid yourself of stuff.  Put free items out on your sidewalk or driveway for others who may need them.

3. Bake some cookies for your neighbors or perhaps someone needs a basket of encouragement filled with little gifts or necessary items.

2. There are missionaries still on the field serving and there are missionaries who have had to return home. You can contact them and ask how they are doing or if they need anything in the way of support during this time of transition.

1. Turn on worship music in your home.  While it plays in the background it will refresh, encourage and minister to the spirit of every family member.  Monitor the TV, espcially the news which can be scary to children.  Locate The Chosen and watch 8 amazing episodes with your family.  The Chosen has had almost 12 million views and already self-raised almost 2 million of 10 million dollars needed for season two.  View the trailor here.

Remember, God has made many rich deposits within you. It is time to give Him a return on His investment.  Ask Him what He would have you to do for others and trust Him for an amazing outcome.

 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2)





7 Healthy Responses to the Coronavirus

20 03 2020

I love Psalm 91; it is so full of good news.  With all of the change the whole world is facing today, God’s word and His promises do not change and it is good to remind ourselves of this fact.  If you haven’t read this Psalm recently, please do and consider reading it daily as recommended in point number one below.  Its truth is so encouraging in this hour.

Did you know that God in His word outlined a process of how to stop an infectious disease?  Once it was diagnosed by the high priest, that person was to go into isolation for seven days.  They were then to be examined a second time and possibly go into a second seven day isolation.  (See Leviticus 13)

Let’s also be reminded and take to heart the process outlined by our government to keep the spread of this virus to a minimum.  Romans 13 instructs us to submit to the governing authorities as they have been established by God.  To not submit is to be in rebellion against what God has established.  (See Romans 13:1,2)

John G. Lake (1870-1935) was an evangelist and also known as a “faith healer” who lived through the Bubanic Plague.  He stayed on the ground, ministering to the sick and actually helped to bury the dead.  When asked by the doctors what protection he was using he said, “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”  (See the article here.)

Here are 7 words of encouragement for you and for those whom you touch.

  1. Meditate on Psalm 91 each and every day. Read it to your children so they know of God’s protection over them.  Pray this Psalm over your household.
  2. Remember the Passover when the Israelites’ doorways had blood sprinkled on them. (See Exodus 12:23)  Those dwellings were not touched.  You have authority in the Name of Jesus to pray protection over your household.  Take that authority boldly against the evil one and protect your household in the Spirit.
  3. Do not operate in fear or anxiety. The love of Jesus is perfect and casts out all fear.  (See I John 4:7-21)  Anxiety takes the place of prayer and keeps us from trusting God.  (See Proverbs 12:25; Philippians 4:6,7)  Rather, operate in a spirit of faith.
  4. Keep rejoicing and keep giving thanks. A thankful heart is a heart absent of complaint.  A heart that rejoices is a heart full of life.  (See Philippians 4:4; I Thessalonians 5:18)
  5. Think and pray about how you can serve others. Do you have a neighbor that you need to check on?  Is there an elderly person who should not go to the store at this time and you can make the trip for them?  How can you and your family serve those who are at a higher risk?  Remember that difficulties in life can also provide opportunities. (See Matthew 20:28; I Peter 4:10)
  6. We can trust God in all things, including this precarious season. Place all your hope and trust in the Lord; He does not disappoint.  (See Psalms 25:1,2; 31:14; 62:8)
  7. Pray for government leaders in decision making.  Pray for your church family to stay strong and faith filled.  Pray for opportunities to serve others.  Prayer will help us to maintain a proper focus.  Pray without ceasing!  (I Thessalonians 5:17)

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

And Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”





Seven Nonreligious Reasons to NOT Live Together Before You Say “I Do”

24 02 2020

“In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.” *

 

Let’s face it, there are lots of Biblical reasons to not live together before marriage, not the least of these being something called fornication.  But are there other, more or less “nonreligious” reasons to not live together before marriage?

 

Here are seven:

1. You will totally rob yourself of the honeymoon phase of marriage. You have lived together which also, most likely, means you have been intimate.  You just lost any surprise for the wedding night and a very different, wonderful and intriguing honeymoon.

 

2. You will not feel like newlyweds once you are married. You lived together and all of that newness will be completely missing.

 

3. By living together before marriage, there is still a, “This is mine; that is yours.” Why?  Because you are not one, you have not committed to “ours.” Further, living together provokes selfishness. How?  You have not committed the remainder of your life to this person and you have not spoken any vow of promise, therefore; you are free to live as a single person lives without commitment.

 

4. You still have a huge, unlocked and open back door to this relationship.  Without a ring and a date, what are you working toward?  Why hang in there when it gets extraordinarily difficult?

 

5. It is said that no one should buy a car before test driving it. That is almost laughable.  A car is not a major life relationship, it’s a thing.  Marriage is so much more than a test drive or a thing or a material item one makes use of.

 

  1. What will you tell and what will you pass on to your children someday? Will you desire something different for them or will you recommend this arrangement?  I have never talked to anyone who desires to pass this news onto their children and/or will encourage them to do the same.

 

7. “Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabiters were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.”   (*New York Times: The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage)

 

Marriage is a commitment to a covenant whether one believes in God or not.  Marriage is God’s original design and idea, not someone’s good idea or a government idea for society.  Ultimately, one does not disobey something God created for mankind and feel good about it.

 

I am sure there are more reasons, but I hope something of these seven spoke to you if you are thinking about giving yourself to a cohabitation arrangement, please know that you are worth far more!





10 Ways to Train Your Children in Finance

16 12 2019

There is no better time than now, today, to start teaching your children about money, saving, spending, credit, debt and giving.  As we approach Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, you’ll have a perfect opportunity.

Take the financial lessons you have learned and use them as a teaching tool to those little ones in your life, either as a parent, a grandparent or a caretaker. Their future spouses, teachers and employers will love you for it. Author and financial teacher Larry Burkett once said that we are not responsible for our children’s decisions, but we are responsible for their training.

  • It all begins and hinges on helping them to understand that God owns it all. We are to be the best stewards of everything He shares with us and because God is so generous, teach generosity. There is no greater blessing than to give.
  • Teach the difference between self-discipline, delayed gratification, and immediate self-gratification.
  • Give your children regular and meaningful responsibilities – jobs without pay, e.g., picking up their toys. Do not give an unearned, free ride allowance, but rather, give your children regular jobs with generous pay, e.g., mowing the lawn or folding the laundry.
  • Teach your children to tithe from every dollar earned or given to them. It is all God’s, but discipline in regular giving grows a habit.
  • Teach your children to save a percentage of their income for the future (30-50%), all the while designating a percentage of what can be spent immediately.
  • Teach the difference between an asset and a liability – a consumable. Help them to understand the concept of investing and how that will help them beyond today into the future.
  • Develop a budget with your child as soon as they can comprehend the idea. It will serve them the remainder of their life. Start a savings account (start with a piggy bank) and when age appropriate, obtain a money market account and an ATM card. Teach them how to responsibly use and balance them.
  • Train them in the proper use of credit and how the borrower is servant to the lender. Borrowing for an asset vs. a liability.  Share with them the difference between paying interest and growing interest on their money/investment.
  • Share with your children your financial mistakes and how they can learn and benefit from them.
  • As is appropriate, walk them through all other financial concepts like loans, taxes, utilities, owning a home, maintenance, buying a car, auto repairs, insurance, etc. Take the time to teach your children what God takes the time to teach you about money and His resources. They’re never too young to learn.

And here’s a bonus for you as a parent.  Stop saying the words, “I can’t afford it.” Most times we can, we’re normally adjusting our priorities. So rather than this short answer, try explaining why making a certain purchase is not within your budget at this time.





The Most Important Words We Can Speak

25 11 2019

How many words are there in the English language?   I asked Google just that question one day.  The answer?  Three key numbers to remember.  There are over one million English words of which approximately 170,000 are presently used.  Any one of us as English speakers use around 20,000-30,000 words.

 

To be “fluent” in English you need to know around 10,000 words.  The longest word in English is 45 letters in length, a medical diagnosis term.  Approximately 5,400 new words are created annually.  One introduced for 2018 was, wordie.” (Even now my spell check is telling me it’s an incorrect spelling.)  And there are 3,000 common English words that you could get by with in order to communicate sufficiently. As well, thousands of words become obsolete each year.  Here’s an obsolete word for example: “boreism.”

 

There are some words in each and every language that should never become obsolete; words that ought to be repeated over and over.  There are in marriage words that we ought never stop repeating or ever tire of hearing.  I can think of three of the most beautiful words spoken or heard, “I love you.”

 

Telling our spouse each and every day that we love them can never become old.  Telling our children every morning and every night must be habitual.  Saying those words to our parents is important because they are also words of honor.  Telling God how much we love Him should reveal endless adoration of Him because He first loved us.

 

I am not sure anyone on this earth tires of hearing those words, “I love you.”  There may be many around you today who do not hear those words or perhaps never heard them growing up.  We can make a difference today in their lives too.





Taking Back Dinner Time With Your Family

23 09 2019

It’s time to reclaim dinner around our tables.  This practice is becoming lost in the midst of family busyness, jobs, school schedules, friends and activates.  We desperately need to recover this tradition within our families and here’s why.

 

When we’re sitting around the table eating, it’s a time to connect as a family.  It’s a time to talk about our day.  It’s a time to encourage, speak life-filled words, laugh and listen.  Dads and moms  can help provoke this time of communication and connectedness.  Here’s how.

 

There is nothing worse than everyone sitting around complaining about the meal, their day, not talking or simply engaged in words like, “Pass the salt” or “Can you please close your mouth when you chew?”  This opportunity for connection can begin with Dad sharing about his work day, Mom sharing about an important meeting she was engaged in and then the children following up with something that occurred in school, a paper due or a prayer need.  If no one is talking, you can begin a wonderful conversation just by asking, “So, what’s the craziest thing that happened today?” or “Finish this sentence: Today was a challenge because…”

 

The food takes a backseat to the conversation.  Before closing your mealtime, the conversation can turn to praying together as a family or asking if someone needs help with a certain task assigned after dinner.  Mealtime is a time for togetherness and relationship building.  Always include your children’s friends in the conversation and you just might start a new tradition in their home as well.

 

Do not lose the value of such an important daily connection and opportunity.  Proverbs reminds us, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”





Can God’s Creation Create Healing?

12 08 2019

I recently read a Reader’s Digest article called, The Nature Cure and was totally intrigued.  I will share some of the information from that article below.  It seemed to verify what I have believed and incorporated into my life, certainly appreciating that this periodical would help to validate this belief.

 

The article actually called nature a “miracle medicine for our mental health.” It seems social scientists are discovering that our brains are not machines which do not tire, but rather become easily fatigued and with as little as three days of rest, creative problem-solving tasks can increase by 50 percent!

 

When architect Fredrick Olmsted looked over Yosemite Valley, he urged the California legislature to, “…protect it from development…. that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes is favorable to the health and vigor of men.”

 

Thousands of years ago gardens were constructed for this very reason — rest and mental relaxation.  It seems most kings mentioned in the Scriptures incorporated them.  The U.S. national park system was created because people like Ralph Waldo Emerson built a case for creating the park system stating that nature had healing powers.

 

Researchers today are discovering that people who live in or near “green spaces” suffer less depression, anxiety and migraines.  A study in Japan found those persons who walk in the forest decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  There is healing in God’s gift of nature and yet less than a quarter of Americans spend 30 minutes or more outside in nature daily.

 

Did you know pediatricians are now telling parents with young families to regularly visit parks so the whole family can de-stress and play? When is the last time you went camping, hiking in the mountains, visited gardens, introduced your child to the wonders of a stick, sat around a campfire, watched a sunset, played in a creek, observed butterflies or sat by a lake?

 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.  (Genesis 2:8

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake.  (Matthew 13:1)








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