A person’s name is one of his most precious possessions. To call a person by his name, to remember his name after you have met him, shows that you value that person. Many will be impressed that you remember. They will see it as a sign that you care. O Soul, remember names as a first step into a person’s life. The respect you show others by doing this may allow you to know the person behind the name. This is true, of course, of God, and no less true of human beings.
Isolation is apparently a strong factor in addictions, according to one study.
“… humans absolutely require connections with other humans, and when we fail to make these bonds, we unconsciously form a bond with what we can find — for some its drugs, for others it may be gambling or any other addictive behaviors.”
The church of Jesus Christ makes a great difference here, IF we are following God’s plan to be the true family of faith and developing relationships based on the ardent love of God, 1 Pet 1.22, rather than a bunch of individuals who show up once or twice a week to go through some rituals.
Do you ever feel alone? When we feel that way, we’re probably not really alone. Feelings don’t do a good job of reflecting reality. They’re a result of our interpretation of events and situations. Since our views of reality are often skewed, our feelings seldom reflect what’s really happening.
But let’s say, for sake of argument, that there are times when we’re really alone. Isolated. Estranged. Closed off from people. What would that be like? How would we really feel? Continue reading
One of those popular lifestyle sites sports an article with 15 reasons why artistic people are difficult to understand. I’m not sure if I like the article or not. The Missus would probably classify me as one of those difficult types. Robert Frost used to sit on his front porch and stare out into space. Neighbors thought he was teched in the head. (Is it proper to put him and me in the same paragraph?) Continue reading
How many times have you heard it? “I’m not perfect.” Never use your imperfection as a badge of honor! Continue reading
Each person probably has their own definition or standard for what a good day is. Some might think being able to watch football all day would be great. Some might think that spending the whole day with family would be the best day ever. There are as many different ways to have a good day as there are people. Continue reading
Larry Young is a researcher at the National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. He studies the neurobiology that underlies pair bonding — what the world calls love. In the journal Nature in 2009, he published an article that claims “love” is the result of a biochemical chain of events. He claims that in the future people will be able to take pills to improve their love and social bonding.
But I beg to differ with Dr. Young. I suppose there is a kind of love that is based on feelings and these are undoubtedly linked to a biochemical chain of events. But that is not the love that God commands us to have toward our fellow man at all. Biblical love is a command that can be obeyed. It is a choice that we consciously make. Several months ago a wife came to our house and talked to Elaine and me. She was ready to end her marriage and divorce her husband. Why? “I don’t love him anymore!” I asked, “What does love have to do with it?” She said, “You can’t live with someone if you don’t love them, can you?” We told her “Of course, you can” and talked to her about the commitment she made to him before God and her responsibility to fulfill her vow. I challenged her to go back to him and treat him as if she loved him, to make it an experiment. She came back and talked to us again a few weeks later, and we continued to encourage her along the same lines. Then we didn’t hear anything for a few months until she posted a message on Facebook. Here is what she wrote:
“After a few months or years of being together, the euphoria fades. Your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. At some point, you ask, ‘Am I with the right person?’ This is when relationships break down. The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it’s learning to love the person you found. People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. It comes in all shapes and sizes: infidelity, hobbies, excessive TV, abusive substances. But the key to succeeding is not finding the right person, it is learning to love the person you found. Sustaining love is not passive, you have to work on it day after day. It takes time, energy and effort. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do with or without your partner. Just as there are physical laws of the universe, like gravity; there are laws for relationships. If you apply these, the results are predictable. Love is therefore a ‘decision’. Not just a feeling. Remember: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay and who you refuse to let GO!”
What make up the elements of a true apology? When do you feel you’ve been sincerely and properly apologized to? How can we leave others feeling satisfied that our apologies have been sincere and appropriate?
I saw a headline just now promising to list three characteristics, or some similar wording, of a genuine apology. I didn’t go look at the article, but it did prompt the question here today, which seems a good one. Some of us, self at top of list, need to apologize more than others, it seems.
Please chime in below in the comments area.
If the title to this article got your attention, then it did exactly what it was supposed to do. In this article, we are going to examine the word honor and objectively determine from God’s word what it means to honor someone (2 Timothy 2:15). The word honor itself carries the idea of placing proper value or worth towards something or someone (Strong’s NT 5091). Everyone has a soul that will spend eternity in either heaven or hell (Matthew 26:31-46; Revelation 21:1-8). Because of this, we must understand the great value that every soul has!
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26). In light of this, it is no wonder that the Bible teaches in a limited sense that we are to
honor all (as in the case of Lady Gaga, etc.) because all humans have valuable souls (1 Peter 2:17). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the Lord is to be honored (Revelation 4:11); wives are to be honored (1 Peter 3:7); kings/presidents are to be honored (1 Peter 2:17); scriptural marriages are to be honored (Hebrews 13:4); elders in the church are to be honored (1 Timothy 5:17); widows are to be honored (1 Timothy 5:3); parents are to be honored (even if they are drunkards, homosexuals, gossips, etc., Ephesians 6:2) – everyone is to be honored (1 Peter 2:17; Romans 12:10)! Having defined the word honor, how do we put this into practice and application?
Honoring someone does not mean that you must agree with, comply with, or have a close relationship with the person, his teachings, or his behavior. In fact, to truly honor someone sometimes means you have to do something they do not want you to do. Let me illustrate this by using several different biblical examples and principles. First, while the Bible commands us to honor the king, that does not mean that we follow the king in violation of God’s word (Acts 4:13-22).
We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29; at the same time, Paul understood the value of those in leadership positions: Acts 23:1-5). Second, just because we are to honor our parents/family does not mean that we never correct them or discipline them when they are wrong (such as in the case of protecting one’s family by keeping them away from the evil influences of one’s drunken parents, etc.; Matthew 10:34-39; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 5:11). Consider the Old Testament story of King Asa in 1 Kings 15:9-14. Asa removed and banished Maachah, his grandmother, from being queen because she had made an obscene image. Asa was not guilty of dishonoring his family; on the contrary, God’s word says that he was
loyal to the Lord all his days (1 Kings 15:14). Even when it comes to an erring brother in Christ, we must still honor him (Romans 12:10; which may include withdrawing from him if he does not repent, 1 Corinthians 5:11). Interestingly enough, the word dishonor carries the idea of “not giving proper value or worth to someone” (James 2:6; etc.). If we know someone is in sin and we choose to do nothing about it, in reality we are dishonoring him (Proverbs 27:5).
While we are to honor all, we must evaluate the situation accordingly. We can honor someone in multiple ways, remembering to provide what is necessary for each situation, whatever it may be (Acts 28:10)! The way we honor each individual will depend upon each situation. Someone in sin needs to be honored by being corrected, including family and close friends (Psalm 141:5; Hebrews 12:11; Revelation 3:19; etc.). Elders in the Lord’s church who rule well and preach the word are to be counted worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Most importantly, when we honor God, we are honored by God (John 5:23, 44, 12:26). Let us make sure that we properly understand what it means to honor someone so that we can place the proper value upon each situation, providing what is necessary in order to exercise true biblical honor!
In Matthew 6:12, when the disciples had asked Jesus how to pray, among other things, He told them, “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” This clearly teaches us that, in order to be forgiven, we must first be ready to forgive. If we are not willing to forgive others when they have offended us, then God will not forgive us when we have offended Him…and we do that all too frequently.
But I would like for us to look at two verses also found in Matthew:
- Matthew 5:23-24 If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
- Matthew 18:15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him hid fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained a brother.
The Bible clearly indicates in these two verses that the reconciliation of any trespass is on my shoulders. It is up to me to make the first move. Neither of these two obligations is easy; and, neither is dependent upon the other person. Read those two verses again. (Obviously, repentance is the first step for forgiveness, for we cannot be forgiven for something of which we have not repented; but that is another article.) God does not say that I can sit back at ease and wait for my brother or sister to come to me and ask for forgiveness. If I feel that a brother or sister has sinned against me, then I also, by definition, feel that that person is living in sin. Therefore, I have an obligation to that person to go to them privately and, in love, tell them what has offended me and give them a chance to repent and “make it right.” If I fail to take the first step, I have failed to follow God’s commandment.
On the flip side, if I am aware that I have offended another, whether or not I meant to offend, it is my obligation to go to that person and apologize for my words or actions.
Again, God has charged me that I must take the first step.
I cannot answer for you, but I do know that I daily need the forgiveness of my Lord. There are things that I do or neglect to do, thing that I say or neglect to say…some of which I may be aware and some of which I am not aware. If I realize that I need that forgiveness, then I must realize that others need it, also. So, here is the deal: Take time right now to think about your life. Have you offended anyone? For the sake of your own soul, no matter how hard it might be, go to that person and ask them to forgive you. Has anyone offended you, and that is eating at your peace? Then go to that person, no matter how hard it might be, and, in love, tell them what has offended you, doing so in love rather than condemnation, and give them the chance to ask your forgiveness. In either case, you have made peace with God.
Fredericksburg Church of Christ, TX
I preached a sermon yesterday from John 3:22-36 called, “Relationships, Relationships.”
One of the relationships that I focused on was the one that John the groomsman and Jesus the bridegroom had.
John may be better known as a powerful preacher than a humble one. After all, he’d tell people to turn the cat around if they told him he was rubbing the fur the wrong way. But in reality he was as humble as any other preacher we can find in God’s word when it came to his work.
John understood the necessity of humility in God’s people. He knew that the Lord rewards humility (Psalm 149:4), and humility was something that he wanted his own disciples to pick up on from the beginning when it came to his relationship with Jesus. It was John who mouthed the familiar words which say, “…He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” (John 1:27)
John preached with the power of Elijah but he gave way to the increase of Jesus’ work and popularity with the meekness and humility of Moses. That’s only one reason why Jesus said, “…among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist….” (Matthew 11:11)
John modeled humility across multiple spectrums in a way that’s worth striving to impersonate when he said, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
When is the last time that we could honestly say in our relationship with Jesus that we have decreased so He could increase? How long has it really been? It’s something worth asking and answering if we, like John, desire a proper relationship with Jesus.
It’s a problem that faces all of mankind’s cultures, but in America it seems like an epidemic in particular areas of our culture. I would even dare say it’s one of America’s greatest scandals. What is it? It’s the huge stumbling block of the abandonment of children by their fathers!
The Bible says in Matthew 18:1-7, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!”
In verse six the Bible uses a very interesting Greek word, and I almost believe we would be better off if it was transliterated instead of translated. It’s translated as “sin” in the above NKJV, as “offend” in the KJV, as “a cause of trouble” in the BBE and as “to stumble” in the ASV, but if we were to transliterate this interesting Greek word it would be done with the word, “skandalizo.” Can you hear our English word scandal in that?
In a culture in which there are some who pride themselves in not “needing” a father to raise a child, or having multiple children with multiple women on welfare, or even a “I’ll write a check, but then I’ll write them off” mentality, it’s our children who are bearing the brunt of foolish behavior and thinking. Yes, one of America’s greatest scandals isn’t what’s being done in the single White House – it’s what being done in the millions and millions of American homes every year!
I also know that every dad isn’t religious, but I do know that every dad has a responsibility regardless of their interest in that responsibility. America has some great dads, and thank God for them, but America has more scandals than what the headlines could cover if they would, for it seems as if in the face of all these “modern families” walking around that we’ve become oblivious to the millstones hanging around our necks.
And by the way, try looking up the original meaning of scandal…you might be surprised what the word originally meant.
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform; a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”
Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory–he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you. Congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes. I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute! And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!
The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. Prov. 16:21-22
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock
Almost every child Bible student knows the story of the coat of many colors that was given to Joseph. It was that coat that was deceitfully used by Joseph’s brothers to make Jacob think that Joseph had been killed by an animal. Those of us who are Bible students know that it is “the rest of the story” about Joseph that is so intriguing.
We have so much blame spread around today by those who feel they have had a bad deal in life. Many who believe they have been mistreated in life, especially as youth, become bitter, hateful, and prejudiced against all who have a more pleasant life.
Joseph is a great example for us all. How could one be treated much worse? He was hated by his brothers, which must have made life miserable. He was forced into slavery. He was imprisoned through false accusation.
But we never even read a hint of bitterness nor see a coarseness of heart against others. All of this happened while he was a boy and then a young man. It happened at the time that counselors tell us we have the least control over our emotions. We often excuse someone’s misconduct because of “how tough a life” he or she had.
Joseph shows us we can overcome emotional and physical adversity in our lives. We can choose to act with different emotions than anger, bitterness or self-pity. Joseph never acts as though he would steal, cheat or mistreat others because he had been so cruelly mistreated by the world. Continue reading