Don’t Just Cry About It; Do Something!

2 12 2018

There it was, 15 feet up, stuck on a tree limb.  My grandson’s favorite stuffed animal hanging and lodged by a single leg now out of his hands and his control.  In his five-year-old mind it seemed permanent, so he cried and cried.  He imagined it gone from his life forever and thus the emotion.  We held him to console him and then said, “There’s no need to cry. Let’s work on a solution to the problem.”  When asking him what we could do about the problem he shrugged his shoulders and whimpered, “I don’t know.”  We asked him if crying could be part of the solution and he managed to shake his head no.

 

He just couldn’t seem to muster up any viable solution so Mimi (grandma) abruptly retrieved a long-handled broom and asked him if this could help.  He looked at the broom and then the stuffed animal in the tree and said, “Maybe.”  Having no other ideas coming from our grandson, grandma began to whack the tree in order to loosen the lodged friend.  He found the exercise funny and began to laugh as the stuffed toy now hung by one arm. Eventually “Nigel” fell to the ground and was quickly grabbed by his owner.

 

I just know we’ll have something “stuck up in a tree” today and it will take a solution. Or, we could just cry about it.  Why is it that we tend to have an emotional response first? Our initial response is truly up to us, be it tears, anger or silence, but in the end, like my grandson, we’ll need a solution.

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Celebrating a Week of Thanksgiving

19 11 2018

This is the week that America sets aside as a time of giving thanks.  Why is that?  Two past presidents of the United States made very specific declarations.

The National Thanksgiving Proclamation was the first formal proclamation of Thanksgiving in the United States. President George Washington declared Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

And then President Lincoln proclaimed in 1863 during the American Civil War, a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

What a wonderful heritage we enjoy from these important proclamations of honoring our Creator through a spirit of thanksgiving.

However much earlier, Paul the Apostle wrote in I Thessalonians we are to…”give thanks in all circumstances.”  He knew that giving thanks was a form of joyfulness.  That giving thanks actually lifts our spirits and that giving thanks connects us to God.  He knew that a spirit of thankfulness is healthy for our minds, our physical health and our emotional health.  I believe he also knew that thankfulness and gratitude help us in our relationship with God and others.  How so?

Someone once said when we lose our thankfulness toward God, we begin to focus on what we feel God has not done and ultimately miss what He is doing.  Could that also be true of our earthly relationships? When we stop being thankful for those around us, we could begin to focus on how they have disappointed us or how they frustrate us. 

A spirit of thankfulness is contagious.  What are you thankful for today and how can each of us maintain a spirit of giving thanks in all things as a lifestyle?  Let me begin with saying I am thankful for those of you who take the time to read my blog!





Dead Relationships Verses Living Relationships

12 11 2018

How much energy do you spend thinking about or trying to correct dead relationships?  Perhaps you have a failed relationship from the past, a really bad break-up or even a divorce.  In so many of these cases there is simply not a way to relieve the guilt or the false guilt one may feel.  We can find ourselves playing mental gymnastics in order to somehow convince ourselves it will possibly one day work out.

 

Perhaps the very thing we need to do is to stop misplacing time and thought into a former relationship that is not to be resurrected and place that energy appropriately into my present relationship.  To work toward building a stronger foundation and a deeper connection to my friend or my spouse rather than wasting time wishing that some past relationship would have worked out differently cannot only be productive, but rewarding as well.

 

Begin by praying about how you can better care for your friend.  Put energy and thought into how to better love the person you are married to. Try daydreaming and fantasizing about your wife or your husband.  To allow past, dead relationships your precious time just might be robbing, stealing in fact, from your present friendship or marriage relationship.  And that might be considered cheating.





Your Marriage Has A Relationship With Money; Five Tips to Contentment

29 10 2018

Does it sound odd to say or admit that our marriage has a relationship with money?  There is this amazing verse in the Bible that says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Most couples believe that if they had more money they would be more content. From that juncture, we can find ourselves fighting and arguing over money all too often.  But money in and of itself doesn’t bring contentment

Contentment is a state of the heart, mind and the spirit and not our level of income or the amount of savings we have accumulated.  Contentment certainly isn’t generated by the amount of stuff we collect.  Our possessions might bring convenience, but not contentment.  We can purchase a new car, but sure enough a new and improved model is just around the corner, making ours feel old and outdated.

Being content means we are satisfied, we are at ease of mind.  Our relationship as a couple with money can bring contentment or take us to discontent.  In reality, we can become consumed with the need for more.  Contentment, the scripture relates, is generated by godliness. Godliness is conforming to the desires of God.  And when God says He will meet all of our needs according to His riches, we can stop striving, stop living in discontent and begin being at ease with one another and ourselves.

How else can we arrive at contentment over finances in our marriage?  Here are five tips:

  1. Create a budget and follow it.
  2. Have a weekly money date and talk about your finances openly without argument.
  3. Give one another a spending allowance and be generous.
  4. Stop the name calling like “Spender” or “Tight wad.”
  5. Pray over your finances regularly.

If we connect lasting happiness with the accumulation of money or things, our happiness will always be short-lived.  If we connect happiness with godliness we will find ourselves becoming all the more satisfied with where we are financially and trusting God for where He desires to take us.

I just love this wisdom, “Keep yourselves free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 5)





Never Say Never To God

15 10 2018

Don and Samantha were new acquaintances.  My wife and I were reaching out and getting to know them a bit better when Samantha blurted out her list.  “We will NEVER get married; we will NEVER have children and we will certainly NEVER become Christians, not in this lifetime!” Don agreed.

 

I think God loves those kinds of “never” challenges.  I happen to believe He responds with one big, “Really?”

 

No longer remembering the time frame, I now look back with amazement.  Both Don and Samantha bowed their knees to Jesus.  Following that step they felt God’s conviction to marry; to make it “…official before God. ” Then, even with a vasectomy on Don’s part, two beautiful children followed, a boy and a girl.

 

What big, huge, NEVER problem can you lay out before God today?  He just might take you up on it.





Have You Been Noticed Lately?

8 10 2018

My grandson often asks me, “Papaw, did you see me _________?” You can fill in the blank with almost anything he does or desires to be noticed doing.  It can be really small, but he still wants to be observed.  He longs for that voice of approval and praise.  It’s a child thing, right?

 

Actually it’s a people thing.  Do you desire your spouse to notice you?  How about your boss?  Do you like it when your teacher notices your extra effort or when your neighbor compliments you on your landscaping?

 

Here is the troubling thing in longing to be noticed.  If it’s simply all about me, then I can’t be noticed enough. If being noticed connects to my personal need for security or affirmation, I can’t get enough attention.  In my desire to build some level of esteem, my need becomes insatiable.  My being noticed tank will never be full.

 

But, did you know that God notices you?  Why wouldn’t He, He created you.  He longed for your time to be born.  He has always had a plan and a desire for your life.  He has never given up on you and He is continually watching you, noticing you and delighting in you.  All other approval can become lost and we can become deeply discouraged in our self-effort to be noticed, but He waits to show you His love and His approval.

 

No spouse, no child and no parent can satisfy your longing to be noticed. However, God knew you before you were found in your mother’s womb.  He has always taken notice of you.  (Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:4)





He Holds All Things Together

1 10 2018

Have you ever felt as though you were unraveling?

 

After years of working as a social worker and then a family and marriage counselor, I often used some key scriptures for encouragement and healing. One of those scriptures I have continually appreciated its meaning and life application is found in Colossians chapter one.

 

Verse seventeen states, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Don’t you just love how our Savior can hold us together?  Going further in verses 21-22 we find some even deeper truth, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

 

This seems almost unimaginable.  As an alienated one acting in wrong thinking and wrong behavior I have been reconciled.  Not only reconciled (meaning bringing into agreement, harmony and restoration), I am presented in three totally amazing and incomprehensible ways: holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.  Can we fathom that we are, “Holy in His sight; without blemish and free from accusation?”

 

We look into the mirror and see all the blemishes, often an unholy vessel, but that is not what Jesus sees.  He sees you as holy and without blemish.  What an amazing and glorious truth to tell the one struggling with who they are and their true value.

 

You do not need to listen to the evil one’s accusations today; you are free from all accusations.  That inner voice that condemns is not from God – it’s not His word to you.  As we walk in the freedom of these truth-filled scriptures we will be held together.








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