Many would agree that these are troubled financial times. Many families are living under financial pressure. But for the Christian, money is to be our servant, not our security blanket. For many non-Christians, money is a sign of success.
All of their decisions are made in response to the question, “What offers the greatest financial advantage?” For the Christian, some things are more important than money. We have all learned that money can be ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’
But God is always ‘here’. He is never ‘gone’ today or tomorrow. So in hard times, we put our hand in His, and use whatever money we have to feed or families and help others. Our security is not in money, but in a loving and faithful God.
This is the time for Fall reflection. Are you pleased with the way you invested your time and energies so far this year? Are there changes you need to make in your lifestyle as we move into Fall? Do you need to drop some activities and add others? Family, church, vocation, and neighbors are all important. The key word is ‘balance’. The greatest satisfaction in life is in investing your life in the lives of others. But you also need to take care of yourself. Proper food, sleep, and recreation keep the body strong. A daily quiet time with God, and weekly involvement with other Christians energizes the spirit. Could a minor change in your lifestyle make a major difference in your effectiveness?
In today’s world, many people are suffering from the pain of debt. Others are troubled with the upheavals of the financial markets. Let me remind you of the words of Jesus: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If you understand that truth it will change your life forever. Real satisfaction is found not in money, but in loving relationships with God, our spouse, children and friends. Loving relationships are our greatest assets. Most of us could live with less money, and may of necessity have to do so. But, if that helps us focus on relationships, then we still come out winners. Why not have a family ‘soup’ night – eat only soup and crackers and thank God that you are alive and together.
Though the word apology, as we know it, does not exist in the New Testament, an absence of the specific word does not indicate an absence of the concept. Scripture provides lessons for how to do this well and demonstrates that there is more to making an apology than what we often hear in popular culture.
Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making. Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many young couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock.
How does a couple move beyond deadlock? The answer is found in one word—love. Love always asks the question, “What is best for you?” Love does not demand it’s own way. Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved. We are called to be lovers. When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes.
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Parents often find themselves in conflict with their young adult children. Sometimes these conflicts focus on religion. They become involved in a different religion or a cult. How is the Christian parent to respond?
First, let me remind you that the greatest influence you have on your children’s religious beliefs happens in the first eighteen years of their lives. They have heard you and watched you for many years. The closer your practice is to your preaching, the more they respect your beliefs. If you have failed, it’s time to repent and apologize. Then, it’s time to listen and dialogue. The days for preaching are over. They are young adults and you must respect their freedom. It’s the same freedom that God gives to all of us.
What if Christians really were? The word Christian means ‘Christ like’. In the first century it was not a name chosen by the followers of Jesus. It was a name given to them by others. The best way to describe these people was to call them Christians. Their lifestyle was based on the teachings of Jesus. Central in these teachings is the command to love. In fact, Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbors. I think ‘neighbor’ starts with the family and spreads outward. Love begins with an attitude, which in turn leads to acts of service. “How may I help you,” is a good question with which to begin. Today is a good day to express love.
Many people say that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth. Whatever our limitations we have been greatly blessed of God. This nation has faced many crises in the past. Today we face a growing and illusive enemy that seeks to destroy America in the name of religion. Ours has been a land of religious freedom. We allow all religions to practice their faith freely. As we thank God for our history, let us pray for His wisdom in the present. Let us stand firmly on the side of freedom and pray for our enemies. As Abraham Lincoln noted, our concern is not whether God is on our side, but that we are on God’s side. The nation that exalts God will be blessed. Whatever others do, let us seek God and His Kingdom.