“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
Reading through the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, 1st and 2nd Kings, Judges I see God having to send person after person to bring His people back to Him time and time again. It is like a Catch 22 for the human race. God is willing but we are literally unable to have that personal connection with Him at a intimate level.
Countless times Israel is caught, after being delivered from the hands of the enemy, using the blessings they were given to sacrifice to other idols, mostly Baals and Asherah poles. Left to their own devices they were defiling Gods promises for themselves. Everything God was giving them, did not strike close enough to home, to keep their hearts right on a continual path, to seek him. No Kings, Judges, Prophets did the job that was needed, because our sin nature was a deep poisonous root that was never eradicated properly.
I can not even tell you what I would do if I was God, after thousands of years. I would of flooded the earth a bunch of times, seriously people.
God Being all knowing and all powerful, and ultimately desiring a close, intimate, relationship with His Creation knew what was needed. Being amazing, being justified, sovereign, being the creator of the universe, He put it again back into human hands by Offering the greatest sacrifice and atonement for our human nature. The ultimate erradication for our poisonous root, we have had since birth.
Jesus. His Son. The Perfect Sacrifice. The Living Word of God.
#this dude is SOLD OUT for me
They say more is caught than taught, right? Do we really think about that when it comes to our money. So often these days, everyone uses a debit/ credit card for any kind of purchase. Many things are even purchased online. We use online bill pay, donate to charities and many churches even have an on-line way to pay your tithe. But have you ever stopped to think about how your kids will understand the idea of giving if they never see you write a check or pay cash for something and physically hand it over. There is something in a person’s spirit that changes when you do this versus just swiping a card.
Now, I’m not saying we need to get legalistic about this but I want to challenge you to think about areas in your life where you can teach your kids about giving. If more is caught than taught then we need to be showing our kids by living out what we are teaching them. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Here are a few ideas of how you can do this if you don’t already. Be intentional about this and look for teachable moments where you can talk to your kids about money and giving. If you don’t teach them the world will.
Giving your tithe/offering. Take this opportunity to talk to your kids about why you tithe. God gives us 100% to manage and he asks us to give him 10%. Remember, depending on the age of your kids, help them understand the meaning. Let them watch you write a check or if age appropriate have them write the amount on the check, figure out how much to tithe, and lastly place your check/cash into the offering basket at church. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful giver so make sure you are not tired, stressed, upset or angry during these activities above. Don’t forget more is caught then taught so your kids will pick up on both positive and negative emotions.
If your children are age 6 and older, you can start paying them commission (not allowance) for jobs around the house. You can pay them once per week and use an envelope system to talk to them about giving. A good idea is to have 3 envelopes with spending, saving and giving on them. We are just talking about the giving envelope right now. Take 10%, it doesn’t have to be exact, and put it in the giving envelope. Have the child take the envelope to church and place it in the offering basket themselves. If they forget the envelope, resist the urge to just hand them the amount from your wallet. They need to understand, it is something they need to plan out ahead of time and bring to offer.
As Christmas approaches, there will be many giving trees around at church, work and malls. This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about giving. Walk your child, again depending on age, up to the tree and have them pick out a tag. Talk with your child about what you are going to get ahead of time and cost. Take this opportunity to discuss needs versus wants. Plan to go get the item and involve your child in this process, pay cash and then take the gift home and wrap it up. Then your child can take the wrapped item and place it under the tree. Don’t forget to emphasize the giving part of the process. Make it fun but look for those teachable moments.
These are just a few things I thought of. Don’t feel like you need to search out artificial lessons, life is full of teachable moments. Catch a few moments along the way and teach your kids about them!
A couple of weeks ago, we had a bunch of friends over. It was beautiful weather that Sunday afternoon, and we ended up with the whole group, all 18 of us, sitting out on the patio and enjoying the lovely fall sunshine.
The next day, it rained. Then it rained again the next day, and the day after that. I knew that it meant that the rainy season is here – for next nine months or so, we can expect to have mostly cloudy weather and often rain. And in case you’re wondering: yes, we live near Seattle.
Actually, many of us who have lived here a long time secretly welcome the return of the clouds and rain. Some don’t even keep it a secret: they love it. Maybe it’s the coming back to comfortable and familiar weather, or maybe the soft, gentle daylight, or the cool, moist air, or all the green growing grass, plants and trees. It might be something different for each person, but they all enjoy and appreciate the rain.
It made me think of a quote I’ve heard, “He sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Usually it seems when someone says this, they’re talking about something bad happening. They use it to mean along the same lines as the old saying, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” But I think that’s a misunderstanding of what it means.
The last of these two is just an old saying. But the first one is the words of Jesus, from Matthew 5:45. He’s talking about God, and says, “… for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” This sounds different: it’s a good thing.
Think about what rain would mean from the point of view of someone who has a farming or herding lifestyle. If you’re a farmer, no rain means crops don’t grow, and you don’t have food. Rain is a blessing. Or, if you herded sheep, goats or cattle, no rain means no grass or plants for your herds to eat, and then no meat, or milk, or wool to trade or sell to get food. You would need the rain: it’s a necessity for life.
That is the context, the idea behind, rain in this case. It’s about God caring for, providing for, everyone – evil and good, just and unjust. It’s not about “Raindrops keep falling on my head,” to quote the song from the 70s. It’s about the love of God: and more than that, about the fact that everyone, righteous or unrighteous, owes their existence, their life and that they’re still alive, their food, clothing, shelter, even water to drink and the very air that they breathe, to God. Everything that’s good comes from God, as it says in James 1:17.
So, the next time you see rain, or think about it, remember how it represents God’s love and blessing. Then, take a deep breath, and thank Him that you’re alive.
There are really only two types of successful people in the world- those who are successful and those who are not. In America, many people describe success as achievement in their jobs, accumulation of wealth or victory over another. To me, that is such a narrow description of success.
The most successful people I know are people who are able to control this one thing about themselves and their situations- give me a minute, I’ll explain.
Last evening I was at a sports contest where I was sitting in the rain, watching the team I was supporting lose. When you’re in the dark rain, and your team is losing, I stop watching the game and I start watching the people playing the game.
Sports are just a metaphor for life.
Watching the game- it was easy to see who was successful and who was not, and the scoreboard didn’t have anything to do with it. The winners carried themselves like winners. It was in how they walked. It was displayed in their posture. You see it in how they responded to the success or failure of a play. And this was on both teams.
They were in control of their emotions.
It is an important distinction. It is a trait that in any relationship or organization that affects it to either the positive or the negative- people who can control their emotions are successful.
What do I mean? Well, it is pretty simple. I’ve never met a person who is happy when they are upset or has other people around them happy when they are upset. People who cannot control their negative emotions in the midst of circumstances are not successful, they are failing. Twice. Once in the circumstance and another time in their demeanor.
Some people would say that controlling emotions is disingenuous, and at times, it may be, but for most of the interactions that we have in life, controlling emotions helps. It helps get your mind on track towards the goal you just missed. It rallies those around you to help. It inspires other people to join your cause. Because most people gravitate towards positivity and retreat from negativity, including negative emotions.
Here’s a tip- if you have difficulty controlling your negative emotions, ask God to change you. That’s right. Right now, pray and say “God, change me”. You will be surprised what he can do with a heart that is willing to be changed. You’ll also find that the next time you’re in a situation that needs some positive emotional energy, you’ll be the one who chooses to rise above the negativity and change the course of the outcome.
And that my friends, is success.