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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Growing Respect in our Marriages

5 08 2019

Someone once shared with me these words, “I’ll respect him when he starts respecting me.” Still another said, “When she starts acting respectable, I’ll show her respect.”  Really? Since when is respect conditional upon another respecting you?

 

Do you show respect to your boss even when they are not in some way earning that respect?  Do you respect out of a desire to obey God, regardless of what you feel the other is or is not doing?  Were you aware of the fact that there are respect clauses in the Scripture?  Peter wrote that we were to “…treat them [wives] with respect,” and Paul wrote “…the wife must respect her husband.”  (I Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:33) There were no additional words that stated if the husband or wife also showed respect.  Then again, there are no words that state we can demand respect — that’s not how it works.

 

Judas did a lot of disrespectful things as a disciple of Christ and yet Jesus still washed his feet along with the others.  The woman caught in adultery was not the most respectable and neither was the woman at the well and our Savior showed much respect and forgiveness toward them.  Perhaps your wife or your husband has not always shown you respect, but that does not give you license to return the same.

 

I love how author Gary Thomas weighs in on this very subject, “As our partners and their weaknesses become more familiar to us, respect often becomes harder to give.  But this failure to show respect is more a sign of spiritual immaturity than it is an inevitable pathway of marriage.”  He also notes, “When there is mutual respect in marriage, selflessness becomes contagious…. If you want to obsess about them [weaknesses], they’ll grow, but you won’t!”

 

How is respect growing in your relationships, especially within your marriage?





How Long Have You Been Faking It?

29 07 2019

There are those who attend church on Sunday and live according to anything but those thoughts Monday through Saturday.  I can remember as a young teen listening to the minister read the scripture Sunday morning and then close by saying, “Here endeth the word of the Lord for today.”  I remember thinking, I’ve got news for you; here endeth the word for the week for me.  So, yes, I’ve felt like a fake and I’ve been a fake at times.

 

Someone once wrote, “If you were being accused of being a ‘fake Christian,’ what evidence would you present to prove otherwise?”  I thought that to be a fair and probing question to think about.

 

Then there was this story from a devotional by Dennis and Barbara Rainy that my wife and I read on the topic of being a fake.

 

“A young man who had just graduated from law school set up an office, proudly displaying his shingle out front.  On his first day at work, as he sat at his desk with his door open, he was wondering how he would get his first client when he heard footsteps approaching his office.

 

Not wanting this potential client to think that he would be the first, the young lawyer quickly picked up the telephone and began to talk loudly to a make-believe caller.  “Oh yes sir!” he exclaimed into the phone.  “I’m very experienced in corporate law…Courtroom experience?  Why yes, I’ve had several cases.”

 

On and on this green lawyer went in his fake conversation when suddenly at the door appeared a man in work attire.  The young lawyer hung up the phone and self-importantly asked how he could offer his services.  “Well,” said the man with a smirk, “I’m from the telephone company and I’m here to hook up your phone.”

 

When we’re preoccupied with ourselves, we’re not thinking about how we can honor God. When we’re busy trying to look good, we’re not honoring God.  And when we’re faking our “Christian deeds” or trying to use the right Christian clichés, we just might have our charades found out by the telephone repairman.  Or, worse yet, God!





Praise in Public; Construct in Private

15 07 2019

Many years ago, a wiser, older, more mature couple taught us this phrase: praise in public; construct in private.  By that phrase they meant to always provide a word of praise for your mate when with your family, at your work place, with your friends or in any social setting.  They also encouraged us to never, ever put our mate down, shame them, humiliate them or correct them in a negative sense in public.  We took this counsel to heart and have adapted it for our marriage relationship.

 

When in public, it is difficult to be in a conversation with a person who frequently speaks negatively of their spouse.  It is embarrassing and it is often shamed-filled.  When a life mate feels the need to continually place their partner in a negative light, I question their own esteem.

 

Concerning praise, the writer of Proverbs puts it this way, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”  As married persons we are responsible to, called to, encouraged to speak praise of our life mate publicly.  If we do not have words of encouragement, then we should practice not speaking anything.

 

When we bless our spouse before others, we are blessing ourselves and when we speak negatively and put our spouse down, we are putting ourselves down.  How so?  When we marry, two have become one.  What affects one affects the other. Praise in public; construct in private.





Fathers, We Desperately Need Them

16 06 2019

I always loved being a father.  While not the easiest job in the world, it was my favorite and most rewarding. Having children to hold, train, read to, discipline, play with and love is a God-given honor.  And quite honestly, I made lots of mistakes as a father because there is no perfect earthly father.

 

On one occasion, I was agonizing over some wrong decisions made by one of my children and I asked God what I did wrong as a father.  I’ll never forget what I sensed from my heavenly Father as He then asked me, “And what did I do wrong as a Father?”  Wondering what this meant, I then heard, “My first two children rebelled (in a perfect world, I might add) and by the second generation committed murder.”  Oh, wow, I honestly had never thought of God’s Fathering in that way… a perfect Father who experienced some very imperfect and disobedient children.

 

If you’re a father, happy Father’s Day.  But if you’re a father who blames himself for your children’s wrong decisions, take responsibility if you must, ask forgiveness and move on. If your children made wrong decisions in spite of your wise counsel and love, then realize so did God’s first children.

 

Fathering is a call from God and it’s a higher priority than your job, your hobbies, your buddies, your house and mostly…yourself!  If you still have children in your home or grandchildren, you have a direct link to build the life of Christ in them (Colossians 1:28).  Be the type of father that represents Jesus well and determine to leave a legacy of love, acceptance and approval.





A Boring and Predictable Marriage

10 06 2019

Recently we took our five-year-old grandson with us for a weekend away.  It wasn’t uncommon for him to say, “I’m bored” or “This is boring.” I forgot how much entertainment a young child needs.  It makes me think about how boring and predictable our marriages can become.  So much of life is routine oriented, repeated each and every day like that old movie, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

 

Then again, I also realize some of us prefer routine, it’s comfortable and safe for us.  Still others desire a change of routine, something new and exciting.  All too often the one is married to the other and I think it could be a God-ordained union. Each marriage needs the stability of a routine and each marriage needs pushed toward something new and exciting.

 

Recently Mary and I celebrated 44 years of marriage.  Quite honestly, there have been those
“long, flat roads” as author Gray Thomas puts it.  But it takes those to appreciate the new and exciting times in marriage.  We did a cruise for the first-time last year; that was new and exciting.  This year we went to San Diego for a “just us” vacation.  That was awesome.

 

But you know what? Most everything in between those times was typical routine for us and we loved that too.  Perhaps the key is to recognize, be aware of our long, flat stretches and then introduce something new and exciting in between.





One of Our Greatest Returns from Marriage

3 06 2019

The Bible reveals, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” (Eccl. 4:9) My marriage has had multiple “good returns” and I am so thankful for them.  We’ve had the return of answered prayer together, the return of investment into the lives of others, the return of years of mission work, the return of children and grandchildren, etc.  God’s returns just keep on coming.

 

One of the greatest returns, however, is that since being married in 1975, we have never had to face the world we live in alone.  Since saying “I do” we’ve had one another by our side. It is an amazing and comforting feeling to know you have one another’s back and to know you will not give up on your mate.  It’s a bit inexplicable I suppose.

 

We all know there will come a day when one of you leaves this earth. Do not wait until then to appreciate, complement and work toward that better return.  Be the one who serves fully and completely by laying down your life for your spouse.  Be the one who does not give up, who continues to grow and change and be the one who allows the difficulties in life and marriage to become better versions of who each of you are becoming.








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