Tag: bible

Week of Gratitude: Day 7

Week of Gratitude: Day 7

Week of Gratitude – Day 7

I am grateful for the weekly Sabbath. The Sabbath is a special time set aside by the Lord Himself at the end of Creation week as a sacred day of rest. It includes physical rest from our usual daily duties, but even more importantly, it offers a spiritual rest. A full twenty-four hour period, from sunset to sunset, to spend in time with the Lord in worship, prayer, study, and fellowship with family and friends. Discovering the Sabbath in 2002 completely transformed my life, and now I eagerly look forward to Sabbath each week. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20:8-10a

Week of Gratitude: Day 3

Week of Gratitude: Day 3

Week of Gratitude – Day 3

I am grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To believe in a Creator God who not only made the world but continues to love and care for His creation brings me peace and comfort. He is also a God of justice and mercy; He risked everything to take the consequences of our sin on Himself in order to offer redemption to fallen humanity, and one day, when sin has run its course and revealed the ugly truth that the enemy had lied about God’s character, He will come to rescue the good, punish the evil, and remove sin from the universe forever. And there will be “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.” Revelation 21:4

Make Happiness Your Habit

Make Happiness Your Habit

Make happiness your habit, nurture it daily.
Happiness.

Some believe that happiness is merely an emotion, a feeling, that can be easily influenced by outside factors. What if it can be a conscious state of being instead? What if we could nurture a happy, joyful, contented mindset?

Sure, there are times when we cannot help but be swayed by the things that are going on around us. Maybe you had a bad day. Perhaps your boss yelled at you or a project you worked extremely hard on was rejected. Maybe the kids are rowdy and not listening to you. Even in the midst of “life”, we can choose to stay angry, depressed, or moody or we can say: “No, not today. I’m not going to let this ruin my whole day and sour my attitude.”

It will not always be easy. The apostle Paul wrote: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) Even when we face challenges and trials, we can overcome by not allowing these experiences to drag us down emotionally or render us anxious.

Isaiah 26:3-4 encourages us: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” And Jeremiah 29:11 promises: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

What a beautiful promise to hold on it! No matter what your life may look like to you right at this moment, if you trust in the Lord, He will take control and guide you to a future and hope. So what do we actually do?

There are many ways that we turn happiness from an emotional response into a habit. Here are just a few simple ones that we can start putting into practice right now:

1. Keep a journal and make a note of what makes you happy so you can see what events in your life are influencing your emotions. If certain things make you happy, try to do them more often. If certain things give you stress or anxiety, try to limit or avoid exposure to them.

2. Eat healthy and exercise. Following a nutritional diet, drinking plenty of water, getting fresh air, and doing moderate exercise on a daily or weekly basis helps our bodies and minds stay balanced. When our minds are balanced, we can handle stressful or difficulty situations more calmly and rationally.

3. Spend time with God every day to help fulfill your spiritual needs and desires. Doing a devotional, reading the Bible, and praying are all calming experiences that can ease tension, fear, and worry. When you relinquish the control and allow God to work in your life, not only will He change you but He may guide you in new ways you did not anticipate.

4. Help others by volunteering your time and talents. Many have realized that helping others cultivates compassion, but it also prevents the development of selfishness, which is often a major source of unhappiness!

Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” I choose to make happiness my habit and nurture it every day. How about you?

Think on these

Think on these

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
-Philippians 4:8, KJV

Raising Successfully Selfish Kids

Raising Successfully Selfish Kids

While driving home from work Friday, October 23, 2015, I tuned in to a radio talk show hoping to catch a local weather update. Instead, I had the opportunity to listen to two rather annoying gentlemen talk about a new study that shows that children who talk back to their parents tend to be more successful as adults. After ten minutes of listening to them go back and forth and the examples that callers shared of their own children, I had an epiphany.

The world’s definition of successful means an individual who is self-centered and manipulative, always looking out for what is in their best interest at the expense of others.

It is true that an individual who pushes back against authority, manipulates others, and always seeks out that which would benefit him or herself will most likely find success in their professional careers.

However, is this the type of person we want to raise our children to become? Someone who has no compassion or empathy for others? Someone who is always looking out for Number 1? Is this selfishness and lack of cooperative spirit truly a characteristic of a good leader? And even if these traits might bring more success in a professional capacity, how much harm are they doing to the individual’s personal relationships and emotional health?

The Bible warns:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5, English Standard Version

This list of negative characteristics includes many attributes that the modern world would deem as essential for a successful person, but those who desire something better are encouraged to “avoid such people”.

Philippians 2:3-4 tells us: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Notice that the Bible is not saying that we need to be doormats, just that followers of Christ should be concerned with others. As parents, we should be striving to raise our children with godly characters, molded from the traits listed in the Fruit of the Spirit passage.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:22-26, NKJV

The world would be a better place if more children were being raised to be kind, gentle, patient, content, and with the ability to exercise self-control. Contrary to how society may think, I believe that true success is not measured in what an individual has material-wise but the relationships he or she has built along the journey of his or her life.

The world needs love

The world needs love

I am praying that all those who have experienced tragedy from the recent violence around the world may find comfort. There is no fear in love. “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

What is love? “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Let go of hatred and prejudice and embrace genuine love and compassion for one another as brothers and sisters. The world needs love. Not the feel good sensationalism in songs but the every day acts of compassionate love that makes a true difference. Not hashtags and catchy slogans, not pictures to evoke emotions, but a conscious decision by millions of ordinary people that we won’t let fear and hatred control our lives. That we can make a difference right where we live today, everyday, with our words and actions. And this love will grow as more and more people experience genuine love through compassionate acts until it spreads around the whole world.

I want my life to be a beacon of God’s love, love of the highest ideal and purity, shining out in a world of darkness and sorrow, spreading hope. This is my humble prayer.

Adapted from a series of tweets I posted on November 16, 2015.