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This year the folk musician Bob Dylan won a Nobel Peace Prize for his lyrical work. His musical career which started in the 1960s has continued into present day and the songs he wrote back then have had the staying power to be favorites in all generations of music fans.

One of the songs Dylan wrote was directed to his son. The title of the song is “Forever Young.” In this song he gives encouragement to his son on a life worth living, developing character, and being a good person. The first verse includes the line:

“may you always do for others, and let others do for you.”

Many times, in my opinion, a great deal of focus is given on always doing for others. Sometimes to the point of totally sacrificing the needs of self. I want to be clear here, doing for others is important, as Dylan notes in his song. Just as important, I think, is allowing others to help you.

We were not created to be alone in this life. The bible tells us that God created two people because just one was not good in His eyes. Throughout the word of God community is developed in the family, His holy nation of Israel in the old covenant, and finally the church. Within these institutions all people have a role in service towards each other and also to allow another to serve him.

Of course, there is the teaching of Jesus in which he instructs us to:

“do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

This assumes that at times people will be serving us as well as us being served.

As we keep in mind our relationships with other people may we indeed, “do for others, but also let them do for us.”

 

–Justin P. Lewis, MA

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Daniel, the book in the Old Testament, contains one of my favorite stories in the bible. Chapter 3 describes this–the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

For those who are not familiar or need a refresher this story is about three Israelites living in captivity under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. The empire he ruled was Babylon. A law that he set in motion was for all the people to worship an image of gold by bowing to it after a horn is blown.

So, it happened that the horns blew and the people bowed before this idol. Except for three Jews. See, they worshiped the true God and God does not allow for worship of idols. These men, Sharach, Meshach, and Abendnego refused to bow down even under the pressure and example of those around them.

King Nebuchandnezzar was furious. He demanded they worship this idol or be thrown into a blazing furnace. They refused by giving one of the most faithful rebuttals in all of scripture.

They said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

There are a number of directions to take this story. The focus I want to give it is the faithfulness and trust in God–no matter the consequence. They were so trusting in the power of God that he could save them from the most dangerous of situations. They were also so dedicated to his service abandoning the faith was not an option, even if God chose not to save them.

What does this mean for us?

There are situations in which we realize the power of God could change our circumstance. Our hopes seem so pure and reasonable. Why doesn’t God let this happen? Or why has God allowed this to happen?

In these instances it is helpful to have the attitude these three people of God had:

Even if my circumstance does not change–I will continue to serve God.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA

Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Gideon was insecure, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered Zacheus was short, Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead.

God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV                                                                                                                                           

This short ancient proverb from the Hebrew Scriptures captures the importance of parenting.

The proverb is concise, yet gives much wisdom about caring for a child. The proverb states two truths. The lessons learned as a child will stay with him or her their entire life and parents have influence in the way a child turns out. This means that effective parenting must be intentional.

Lessons learned will stay with a child over their entire life. Quite an overwhelming thought. So, if that is the case, how do you teach lessons the most effective way? How are children going to learn these lessons?

The way that all children learn is experience. What children experience at home is how they learn to treat people, behave in social situations, and what they think about themselves.

Children are going to imitate what they see. The way their home life operates is the way they assume all homes operate until they learn otherwise. Even when they see otherwise, it is going to be the natural tendency to behave under the expectations given at home.

Prepare to be imitated.

What is a parent to do? Take action.

Because your child is going to imitate you, make sure they see you doing what you want them to be doing. This could be simple; if you want your child to show respect to others then show people respect. An example of intentional parenting is showing care for the community. This could be taking your son with you to participate in a service activity.

Telling a child what is good is appropriate. Showing them what is good is love.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “follow me as I follow Christ.” Parents should operate with the same mindset to start their children “on the way they should go.”

Justin P. Lewis, MA

I have used air travel a number of times. Each flight is a little different. Whether it is the distance, movie, food or the seat there is always something different about each flight. But, there are also some things exactly the same. One of these things is the pre-flight safety instructions. Included in this is the direction of what to do in case of a loss of cabin pressure. If this happens masks fall from the overhead compartments to wear over a person’s mouth.

Each time the instruction is given they are careful to include that one should put on their own mask before helping anyone else out, even children. This surprised me the first time I heard it and I even thought to myself, “of course I would help someone else first, especially a child.” Then as I thought about it more, I realized that if I am not full strength I am not going to be of use to anyone else.

I believe that there is a direct application to our daily lives. We all need to have the appropriate amount of self-care. Sometimes we find ourselves running ragged trying to be everything to everyone else and forget to “put on our mask” first. Eventually we are going to tire out and not only will we become harmful for ourself, we will be of no assistance to others.

So, it is important to recognize ways to “put on your mask.” What is it in your life that has been pushed out to make room for other people? How do you get that back in?

It is vital to respect yourself and realize that your needs are just as important as anyone else’s. When you have established this mindset it will be easier to “put on your mask” to save your life, so that you can save others.

Some ideas of “putting on your mask”

  • Spend time in prayer
  • Spend time doing things that are of interest to you
  • Find what energizes you and participate in those things

It is important for you to learn what it is that recharges you and allows you to be healthy so you can be of assistance to others. Remember, if you are not taking care of yourself, you will not be able to help others appropriately.

Justin P. Lewis, MA

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

Psalm 23

The parenting values found in I Thessalonians 2:11-12 can be very valuable. This text is not the most common parenting passage in the bible, but carries plenty of weight when it comes to practical instruction.

The text reads:

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,encouragingcomforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

So how does a father (or mother) encourage? I think encouraging in this case is supporting the decision to live a life worthy to God. Supporting decisions of children teaches them self-esteem. When confidence in their decision is shown they feel like a competent person.

Comforting is helping the child when things get tough. Obviously Paul knows the pain that goes with a life worthy of God. Similarly parents know that life can be painful. Comforting children in all stages of life is something parents are called to do. Comforting children when things seem minor will help you learn to be comforting. It will also teach the children to come to parents for comfort because they have always found it to be a safe place.

Urging is giving a push when a push is necessary. Sometimes parents are the only people in a person’s life that have the credibility to push their children because they know their limitations. A parent knows when a child is living up to potential and and is responsible to make sure they are doing the best they can. An important part of this is urging properly. Knowing their limits works both ways-not expecting too much and expecting effort.

This text indicates that ultimately a parental goal is for the child to live a life worthy of God. What an incredible responsibility!

Justin P. Lewis

1 Corinthians 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

Parents are stewards of the children God has given to them, and God holds each steward accountable for their care. To be a dependable parent:

  • Fulfill obligations-legal and otherwise-in a timely way, without hassle, and without using them to manipulate the other parent.
  • Respect the court ordered purpose of the support. Offer to give a periodic account to the other parent of how the funds are used to care for the children.
  • Plan regular meetings by phone or in person, so that both parents stay informed of issues concerning the child.

In Matthew 5, Jesus taught nine beatitudes for blessed living. The Amplified Bible translates the word “blessed” as “happy, fortunate, to be envied.” Several of the nine “Blessed are” statements contradict our typical ideas of things that lead to happiness, such as “blessed are the poor in spirit,” or “blessed are those who mourn,” or “blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”

The paradox of the Christian life is that often what we least want in our lives can work for our ultimate well-being. With that in mind consider these seven “be” attitudes to produce healthier kids. Be healed, be dependable, be the adult, be respectful, be perceptive, be near, and be a team.

By Kay Adkins.

The next few days will feature one of the above “be” attitudes.

Blessed are the husband and wife who continue to be affectionate, considerate, and loving through all the days of their life together.

Blessed are the husband and wife who are as polite and courteous to one another as they are to their friends.

Blessed are the husband and wife who have a sense of humor, for this will be a handy shock absorber.

Blessed are they who love each other more than any other person in the world, and who joyfully fulfill their marriage vow of a lifetime of fidelity as husband and wife.

Blessed are they who thank God for their blessings, and who set aside some time each day for the reading of the Bible and prayer.

Blessed are they who never speak harshly to each other and who make their home a place of mutual encouragement and love.

Blessed are the husband and wife who can work out their problems without interference from relatives.

Blessed are the husband and wife who dedicate their lives and home to the advancement of Christ and his Kingdom.

Trying the following “true” aphrodisiacs will add some spice:

  1. Show Some Heart: Noted author Ingrid Trobisch says, “The greatest erogenous zone in a woman’s body is her heart.” We think this should be true of women and men alike. Sex was never meant to be a single act of expression or feeling. On the contrary, gentleness, understanding, acts of kindness, and self-sacrifice all combine to become the building blocks of sexual satisfaction. Sex is about joining with your partner, as God designed, for warmth, intimacy, and bonding. Study Song of Solomon 7:10–13; Proverbs 5:15–19; 1 Corinthians 7:3–5; Hebrews 13:4.
  2. Take Some Time: African writer Ernestine Banyolak illustrates beautifully the concept of time in lovemaking. Husbands and wives must take the time—not just during sex—to show their spouse they care and love him or her.
  3. The Lost Art of Touch: Most sex therapists agree that meaningful touching is the gateway to helping couples bond emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, after the marriage vows, many forget or don’t take time to simply touch one another—give back rubs, hold hands, kiss, hug, and caress. These acts, if remembered often, will serve to draw you closer to enhance intimacy.
  4. Communication: Great lovers are great communicators. Good sex speaks clearly and gently about caring for, accepting, and valuing your spouse. Be sure to express your heartfelt needs and feelings. Openly share your love before, during, and after lovemaking.

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  • Learning how not to do for others what they can learn to do for themselves is one of the golden rules of adult maturity. 2 years ago
  • In an effort to avoid the feeling of failing people often don't put forth effort.By doing this they will not experience their full potential 3 years ago
  • The ability to successfully handle conflict is more important than the amount of conflict in a marriage. 3 years ago
  • Weekend challenge: Tell your spouse something you love about them and expect nothing in return. 3 years ago
  • Word Wed:Don't be anxious about anything,but in every situation,by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving,present your requests to God.Phil4 3 years ago

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