Parental Sacrifices

Green Mountain Near River Under Cloudy Sky during Daytime

 

Most of the parents who read this post are exemplary at doing their best, even if your children criticize you. Your courage, tenacity, unconditional love, tears, disappointments, struggles, etc. are appreciated, even if your children do not notice or appreciate what you experienced on their behalf.

 

You endured countless hours of sleep deprivation, sibling squabbles, sacrifice of your time and energy and resources, interruptions of your limited private time – even while using the bathroom, and couple time with your spouse.

 

You juggled your time between your vocation, home, and the massive amount of hours spent on supporting your child’s/children’s/grandchildren’s hobbies and civic and school activities, all the while attempting to be a supportive wife, church member and community activist.

 

I applaud you and thank you on behalf of our society, which is reaping the good morals and example which you lived out in front of your children. Keep up the good work. Mothers spend most of their time with the children, but you fathers too may have contributed to this wonderful gift to our world, and we thank you as well.

 

We are in good company, however. With all of our sacrifices, we do not come close to the amount of suffering Jesus experienced in order to supply us with the free gift of salvation. God provides this blessing for everyone willing to recognize their need for a Savior, repent of their sins, and call on Jesus’ name (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-10).

 

Jesus endured horrendous abuse and the painful and mortifying crucifixion on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty of our immoral, self-centered and prideful rebellion against God. We deserve eternal suffering in hell, but He gave us everlasting joy instead.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we can never thank You enough for coming to earth as our Emmanuel, in order to bring us to Heaven with You. We love the fact that You find joy in the death of Your Saints, because it makes us feel like You are sitting on the edge of Your throne, just waiting for us to come spend eternity with You (Psalm 116:15). You even rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

We often feel like a martyr, because of all that we endure during our lifetime. However, nothing we experience comes close to what You suffered to pay the penalty of our sins. We are so sorry, Lord God, that Your abuse and execution came as the direct result of our ungodly behavior. Teach us to walk righteously in this world. Bless our efforts with our children, and draw them ever closer to Your heart.

 

Thought for the Day:

The most difficult job on this planet is to serve as a parent, and to experience the disrespect, complaints, raised eyebrows, smirks and even disobedience our children dish out to us from time-to-time; yet, the rewards of having a loving child are greater than anything else this world has to offer.

 

 

 

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Undeserved Forgiveness

Pink Rose

Undeserved Forgiveness

 

We often refuse to forgive, because we are adamant about the fact that the person who abused, insulted, and/or wounded us does not deserve forgiveness. That is probably true, none of us deserve forgiveness for our intentional or unintentional actions.

 

Yet, while we were still sinner, God forgave us, and set an example for us in our treatment of others (Romans 5:8). We all deserve hell, because we are filled with sinful thoughts, words and behavior both of our own, and also inherited from generations all the way back to Adam (Romans 5:12-22; Psalm 51:5; Job 14:4; 1st Corinthians 15:22).

 

There is a “selfish” side to forgiveness. If we forgive others, this allows God to forgive us; yet, if we refuse to forgive, we tie God’s hands, and prevent Him from being able to forgive us (Matthew 6:14). No one wants to forfeit God’s forgiveness.

 

Therefore, it is wise on our part to quickly forgive those who insult or misuse us. We can make every effort to live in harmony with others, and to conduct our behavior from a spiritual perspective, rather than a personal one.

 

When we refuse to forgive, we fall short of God’s grace and a root of bitterness springs up in our soul and affect others in our life, as well as eventually crowding out the seeds of righteousness, which Jesus gives us at salvation (Hebrews 12:14-15).

 

God’s Word encourages us to live with compassion for each other’s meanness, foibles and shortcomings, just as in Christ, God forgives us. This focus makes it easier for us to forgive another’s behavior and words toward us (Ephesians 4:32).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to erect boundaries between us and those people who are not safe; yet to continue to show them compassion, and to respond to them with Your unconditional, agape love (Matthew 5:44). Thank you for loving us unconditionally.

 

Make us a vessel of Your peace in this world full of strife and discord. Show us how to heal the issues that lay between us and those who hurt us. We do not want bitterness to boomerang back to us, and to stop our spiritual growth and hinder our joy.

 

Thought for the Day:
Forgiveness does not involve forgetting the slight or wound we received – the painful memory may visit us again and again; however, each time it comes back to our mind, we can choose to forgive, just as God chooses to forgive us.

 

Ordering Our Steps

Pine Trees

 

The Psalmist felt like we do sometimes, and wished he had wings like a bird so he could fly away and find rest (Psalm 55:6). He also wanted to escape to the mountains (Psalm 121:1-2), and hide under the shadow of God’s wings (Psalm 91:1-4), etc.

 

Escaping trauma in this world is such a common desire that advertisers even use it to sell their products. They promise to zip the harried housewife away from life’s stresses, through products like enchanting bath crystals.

 

Of course, our chores and trials still await us if we do take a vacation – long or short – to relieve our stress, but taking breaks from our routine is a healthy practice. Short respites from the routine renew our energy and elevate our mood.

 

Some ideas include: walking outside in nature during breaks at work, taking the kids to the park to run off some energy while we peacefully sit on the bench and watch over them, escaping to our porch with a soothing cup of tea and local honey, enjoying a hobby, sitting in the recliner and propping up our feet, etc.

 

When our soul is overwhelmed by negative emotions such as: frustration, depression, resentment, inner clutter, anger, unforgiveness, etc. we cannot feel the joy of the Lord anymore, and the dance goes right out of our steps.

 

By eliminating and preventing outer clutter, we keep more organized, and we free our soul of dead weight. This enables us to dwell in peace within, instead of dissatisfaction. Our day is more successful when we listen to God’s Spirit.

 

Waiting on His direction, as we do each task, allows us to hear His advice for quicker or more creative ways to do a simple chore. We accomplish so much more, much faster by doing everything God’s way and in His perfect timing.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to order our day according to the direction of Your Holy Spirit. Remind us to take short breaks out in nature, and to have a place for everything in our home and to keep everything in its place. Help us to find short-cuts to make life easier and more efficient.

 

We rely on You to make us see that a casually spotless home and work space is much easier to work in, and frees us from the tyranny of clutter and the demon of perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive behavior. We want to walk in Your plans for our day and to accomplish all that You call us to do.

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us His wisdom to perform our daily duties and chores, so that we have more time to serve Him in areas where He needs us the most; He enhances our peace within by helping us to control the clutter in our soul, home and work space.

 

Going Along to Get Along

Bridge Near Waterfall

 

Relationships in our home, vocation, church, friends and with extended family take a great deal of work. We get weary of conflict, disagreements, struggles and the effort that it requires to live in harmony with others.

 

There comes a time in many relationships where we get stuck in the “blame game”, even years after the incident occurred. We get “historical” on each other. We fail to forgive and move on, we may hold a grudge, and we use the facts of the incident in future arguments.

 

One reason this occurs is because one or both participants never received an apology from the original incident. Then, if something similar happens, the original hurt compounds the current feelings and the feud continues.

 

When we fail to take responsibility for our part in the original incident, we damage our spiritual and emotional growth and our chance for a deeply committed relationship. As we humble our self and feel regret for our part in the disagreement, we can apologize for what we said or did.

 

Full compliance with each other’s opinion and desires is not the answer. Yet, neither do we need to have a winner and loser every time we have an impasse. We can pray together to find a third alternative that we both agree on, about the decision we are making.

 

This way we do not compromise the deepest part of our self, and we do not abandon our core beliefs, or lose our integrity. Yet, we learn each other’s preferences, needs, goals, etc. by listening intently and even reading between the lines sometimes.

 

We dwell with each other with understanding, and serve one another as Jesus served His disciples. When conflict arises, we attempt to see it through each other’s eyes, to realize how the decision is affecting each of us, and to appreciate one another.

 

We both feel fulfilled in a relationship like this, respect each other’s strength, have patience with one another’s weaknesses, and endeavor to face life’s hardships as a united force, instead of allowing the trial to sever our friendship.

 

Each person can make their own decisions that are best for their individual needs, to agree to disagree if necessary, and to give each other the space to be the unique person that God created, that He is perfecting, and that He called us to be.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we live together in one accord with Your Saints and by Your Trinity, we find peace and joy in the midst of our love for one another. We have no need for boundaries or conditions, for excuses for our thoughts or feelings, and for blaming each other for the issues we are facing.

 

Help us to accept each other with all of our faults and foibles, and to support one another in fulfilling our needs and convictions. Help us to be honest, and not to sugar-coat the issues or to hide our true feelings from one another. Teach us to honestly express how we feel, not to attempt to control the outcome of any decision, and to live in the center of Your will for our life together.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we take a searching inventory of what is going on in our soul – our mind, emotions and choices – and journal our innermost thoughts, impressions, and desires, we come to understand what we truly need and want; then, we can honestly communicate our feelings to our self, to others, and to God in prayer.

 

 

 

Secure in Our Savior’s Love

Mountain Scenery

 

When we call out to Him, the Lord provides for all of our needs. Our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors are watching, and they give Him praise for His goodness to us. (Isaiah 41:17-20). He never fails us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

We are secure in His everlasting love and kindness, and we have no lack of any good thing (Psalm 23). His love for us endures continually. He wants the best for us, and thinks the best of us, because we are in Christ and Christ is in us.

 

God is patient with us, defends us when people and powers and principalities come against us, and He provides for us. When we trust Him alone, He matures us in our faith, blesses us constantly, and comforts us during any trouble.

 

Our Father’s love abides in us, changing us from the inside out. When we ask, He gives us Jesus’ divine nature, teaches us to discern the mind of Christ within us, and leads us in His safe and secure, everlasting way.

 

God’s love teaches us not to demand our own way, to give and to forgive, to be led by His Spirit rather than by our own human reasoning or prejudices, and to think the best of everyone. We do not meet a stranger, just a potential friend.

 

We also learn to love our self as Christ loves us, and to love others as we love our self (Mark 12:30-31). So many of us are wounded from past experiences, and we do not believe that we are lovable or valuable enough to be healthy, happy and blessed.

 

Yet, the peace and joy of the Lord accompany our salvation, and we live in harmony with God’s plans for our life. This intimate union with Him is our greatest treasure in life and guarantees our eternal place in His family.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to realize that we are unique individuals who have value, and the need to be loved and nurtured by our efforts as well as Yours. We do not need to look to others for that love or to put undue expectations on them to fulfill our needs. You have our life under Your control, when we submit our goals, desires and plans to Your will for us.

 

Your love is patient and kind, it 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 in the truth; Your love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails us. Teach us to love as You love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus died for the lost, the broken, the forlorn and the persecuted; and His love compels Him to willingly serve as our brother, Savior and King.

 

What Good is the Bible

Green Trees Under Blue and Orange Sky during Sunset

 

On what do we base our understanding of truth, which forms our view of, and purpose in life? Do we accept worldly philosophy and popular cultural beliefs, or the Word of God that has stood the test of time?

 

Archeological discoveries, fulfilled Biblical prophecies in current events, scientific findings, scholarly studies, increased technology, etc. all point to the Truth of God’s Word. Many who set out to prove that the Bible is false, discover its truth.

 

In these end times, before the return of Christ for His Bride, more and more people are dropping out of church, failing to make Bible reading a priority, going to Sunday worship but not evening Bible studies, and some even despise the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

 

There will come a time when there will be a famine in the land of hearing the word of God (Amos 8:11-12). It only makes sense for us to make our personal devotion time, as well as attending Bible studies, as a huge priority in our life right now.

 

God calls His Church to focus on His Truth, to share His Gospel with anyone who will listen, to faithfully serve in a ministry, and to endure any hardships accompanying evangelizing our sphere of influence (2 Timothy 4:5).

 

We are called to treat God’s Word as hidden treasure, and to seek wisdom and understanding from it; then, we will comprehend what it means to “fear” the Lord, and we will find deeper understanding of who God is and what He wants from us (Proverbs 2:3-5).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word gives us undeniable truths, such as the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, the Divine inspiration of the Bible, Your sovereignty, and the penalty of depravity, in addition to facts about our eternal destination. Thank You for Your Word and for Jesus, slain to pay the consequences of our sins, who was chosen before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20).

 

We continue to exist because of Your mercy and grace. We thank You for the capacity to learn, the capability to search for truth, and the free will to choose what we believe. Expose worldly fables for what they are, open the eyes of those who seek You with all of their heart, and help us to find our truth in Your Word rather than in human philosophy.

Thought for the Day:

If we will line up our worldview with God’s Word, we will strengthen our soul, feed our spirit, and find truths that will help us to heal our body, which will all help us now and last for eternity.

 

 

 

Faithful Servants of the Living God

Lake Surrounded by Pine Trees Near Alps Mountains

Jesus was falsely accused of crimes, which He did not commit. These lies were perpetrated by the Jewish leadership who were riddled with guilt by Jesus’ words, and jealous of His spiritual power and popularity with the people.

 

They stirred up the crowd when the Roman official found no fault in Jesus. The crowd chose to save a guilty man and send innocent Jesus to the Cross. This occurred in order to fulfill prophecy and to pay our sin debt.

 

As our advocate, Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us (Romans 8:33-34). Unless it will bring glory to God, no one can deliver us to those who falsely accuse us; and if they do, God works it all out for our good (Acts 25:11; Romans 8:28).

 

Humility is always the best way to diffuse a tense situation (Proverbs 15:1). When someone falsely accuses me, I try to remember that as long as God knows the truth, the false opinion of others makes no difference in my life.

 

Like Jesus, I do not need to use one breath in my defense, because God is my judge (Romans 14:4) and Jesus is my defense (1 John 2:1). We do not need the approval of anyone on this earth. It is nice to have it, but it is not necessary.

 

We never attempt to please our self only, but to consider the needs of others, so that they may trust God also, and be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33). Yet, if we strive to please people only, we cannot adequately serve God (Galatians 1:10).

 

We do the will of God from our heart as servants of Christ, and live as an example to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors (Ephesians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:4). Our goal in life is to live as a praise to our Father God and to Jesus, whom He sent.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us Your Word full of wisdom for guidance in our daily living. As we read the life-giving instruction and testimonies between each page, we learn to live with compassion for our self and for others. Your Godly wisdom helps us to make wise judgments through discernment by Your Spirit.

 

Teach us to see life from both sides of the same coin, and to give people the benefit of the doubt. Remind us to gather all of the facts before we make accusations or form judgments about others, and to accept each other with all of our faults and insecurities.

 

Thought for the Day:

We condemn our self by our unbelief (John 3:18); however, no one can legitimately bring any charge against or condemn those whom God has chosen and who walk in His ways, because He justifies us by the blood of Jesus.