Stress

Will God Bring Peace To My Family?

Few problems burden our sanity like family problems. When issues divide us from the people we’re closest to it hurts, and it can hurt really bad. And when we hurt like that we look for answers where we can find them, and more often than not the average person is more interested in drawing close to God when troublesome times draw near than at any other time – and this is especially true when family ties feel like they’re going to be cut. And a civil-war brewing under our roof can make a person want to know if God will bring peace to their family.

While I can completely and personally understand the want, most people ask the wrong question when it comes to God and family and peace. It’s not a matter of God’s will; it’s a matter of our own. The question that we should ask is, “Can God bring peace to my family?” Because the answer to that question is, yes! God wants families to live in peace with one another. But will God bring peace to every family? Sadly, the answer to that is, no. And he won’t because every family member won’t want the peace that he offers.

When family problems arise I encourage everyone to remember that just because you draw near to God doesn’t mean that others will follow with you, and Jesus said this much himself (Luke 12:51-53). So if we want the peace of God in our family we need to start by having it within our self – because we might be the only ones who know anything about it. EA

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

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Where’s the Complaint Department?!

The power of negativity affects more than just atoms, metals and magnets – it affects people too!

Sometimes we think we can change something or make it better by complaining. If we don’t like it we want to let someone hear about it, right? Well, others do not always like to listen do they? One time, I saw a sign hanging on the door to a house that had a mousetrap with a little button glued to the part where you put the cheese. Under the mousetrap were the words: “Complaint Department – Push Button For Service.” I think their point was something similar to leave your complaining at the door.

If we liked to complain as much as we liked to listen to it then most of us probably wouldn’t do it as much as we do, and God can feel the same way when it comes to listening to our complaints.

The Almighty in Heaven recognizes and knows when we have been unfairly treated, and the Holy Spirit teaches in God’s written word that we can talk to God about these things:

Because for long enough, in times past, we have been living after the way of the Gentiles, given up to the desires of the flesh, to drinking and feasting and loose behaviour and unclean worship of images; And they are wondering that you no longer go with them in this violent wasting of life, and are saying evil things of you: But they will have to give an account of themselves to him who is ready to be the judge of the living and the dead. For this was the reason why the good news of Jesus was given even to the dead, so that they might be judged as men in the flesh, but might be living before God in the spirit. But the end of all things is near: so be serious in your behaviour and keep on the watch with prayer;…Putting all your troubles on him, for he takes care of you.”(1 Peter 4:3-7; 5:7 – BBE).

In this situation God is a sympathetic Father who will listen to us as we express the sorrows and troubles we are wrestling with in our life.

On the flip-side, the Holy Spirit also teaches in God’s written word that God will not tolerate complaining, backbiting, gossiping or murmuring forever. All of these words are used in the New Testament to one extent or another and all of them are condemned, sometimes with harsh warnings:

nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyerFor I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;…These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” (1 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Jude 16 – NKJV).

Paul expressly warned the Corinthian church about murmuring and he used what happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness that murmured against Moses and Aaron as an example of God’s attitude toward that sin (Numbers 14,16,17). It was at the end of that warning that Paul penned the familiar and lesson filled words, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Complaining, backbiting, gossiping and murmuring were definitely some of those sins that Paul had in mind there.

Often times if we would only listen to ourselves when we complain negatively then we would hear how childish it can be. There have been times when I have reflected on something that I was complaining about and I realized how ignorant and petty it really sounded in the end. It didn’t change the situation and it definitely wasn’t changing me for the better!

The next time we start complaining we should ask ourselves if God would be willing to listen with a sympathetic ear, or would He be disappointed?

Remember that a lot of people like to visit the complaint department but not many people want to work there for a good reason. So let’s break the bad habit of complaining before it breaks us. EA

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)

“Apology” Letter

This was forwarded to me in an email. There are enough faux-trees out there for the season, so a faux-apology should fit right in. I thought it was hilarious, but I hope it doesn’t give anyone any ideas!

Hi Sweetheart,

I am sorry about getting into an argument about putting up the Christmas lights. I guess that sometimes I feel like you are pushing me too hard when you want something. I realize that I was wrong and I am apologizing for being such a hard-headed guy. All I want is for you to be happy and be able to enjoy the holiday season. Nothing brightens the Christmas spirit like Christmas lights! I took the time to hang the lights for you today; and now I will be off to the hockey rink.

Again, I am very sorry for the way I acted yesterday.  I’ll be home later.

Love you……

Her response –

Hi Honey,

Thank you for that heart-felt apology. I don’t often get an apology from you, and I truly appreciate it. I, too, felt bad about the argument and wanted to apologize. I realize that I can sometimes be a little pushy. I will try to respect your feelings from now on.Thank you for taking the time to hang the Christmas lights for me.  It really means a lot. In the spirit of giving, I washed your truck for you; and now I am off to the mall.

I love you too!

There’s nothing too funny about the notes, but what made me laugh was the pictures that described what those “sweet” words really meant:

  Truck under water

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

P.S. – Remember to show real love to your spouse! (Ephesians 5:22-33) EA

Make Sure “Acting Like a Kid is on Your To Do List”

No, I didn’t say “Make sure acting childish is on your to do list” – I said “Make sure acting like a kid is on your to do list.” There’s a difference between the two. Every once in a while we adults need to remember what it was like to be a kid. We need to remember what it was like to find pleasure in the simple things of life.

Kids don’t need fancy big screens TVs to have fun! Kids don’t need a giant “Grade A” steak to enjoy food! Kids don’t worry with having a designer label on their clothing when they go out! Kids don’t care if their dog is “a pure breed” or “a mut from three generations back” because they know it’s the loyalty that makes the relationship last! Kids don’t need expensive leather couches to kick back and relax!

I love kids. They keep things simple. I know life is simple to them because they don’t have to worry with bills, jobs, putting gas in the tank, etc. but the truth of the matter is sometimes we adults make the things on our “to do list” a lot more complicated than it should be. Kids leave the worrying up to the adults because we don’t let them down. Here’s a neat little “to do list” put together by a small child that their dad found. I found it on a news web-site and I thought that it might make you smile and reminisce:

It’s true that we all need to grow up and stop acting childish – but if we know what’s good for us we’ll still make time to act like a kid every now and then. EA

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.” (Matthew 18:2-3)

GOD problems

Look at that title…what is it saying to you…does it make any sense? Look at it one more time. There is a sentence and a lesson in that title of two words. It’s a sentence that is easy to say, but a lesson that’s hard to remember; but the lesson is a fact nonetheless. If you have figured it out great! If not, here is a hint – which one of the words is bigger? Do you see it now? “God” is bigger than the “problems.”

God is bigger than our problems! I told you it was an easy sentence to say but a hard lesson to remember. God is big, very big! The Earth is compared to His footstool (Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:35). God’s hands made the dry land the way we might make a sandcastle (Psalm 95:5). The Bible describes God gathering the sea together in a heap and breathing the host of the heavens into existence (Psalm 33:6,7). These are the four biggest things we can see on or from the Earth: the dry land, the oceans, the Earth itself and the heavens above. These things are huge! And yet they are all very small compared to our God; but let a problem come knocking and we soon forget all about that.

God made us and we often (not always! but often) make our own problems. I could’ve easily made the word “problems” bigger than the word “God” in the title. But who’s really bigger? The One that made us – or the problems we make? I know the answer and I hope you do too, but that question still manages to stump me from time to time.

Remember the man possessed with the legion in Mark 5? In verse nine Jesus asks the demon his name and the demon answers, “Legion.” In case you don’t know, the word legion is a military term representing a group of several thousand soldiers. Most people agree it probably meant about 6,000 around that time.

So here is Jesus facing a demon several thousand strong – He’s got a big problem on His hand’s right? Wrong! Why not? Because Jesus had more than twelve legions of angels from the Father that would’ve taken care of that problem! (Matthew 26:53) Put that number in your calculator and tell me which is bigger.

Sometimes we may wish that God would just come down and take care of all our problems in a snap, but our problems are often lessons reminding us to rely on Him (James 1:2-4). Let’s all do our best to encourage and remind each other that God really is bigger than our problems. Think about it.  EA

“…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Help for the weary, worn, troubled and tired…

There are moments in life when it seems as if we can become so weary, worn, troubled and tired that no amount of sleep can bring the refreshment and relief that we desire; that is, if sleep is even possible. Once when David was dealing with a particular personal struggle he prayed to God saying, “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.” (Psalm 6:6)

The fact is that some troubles are brought our way by others, but at other times the fact that we bring our own problems to our door can be seen in David’s life. Whatever the case may be, the weariness and worn feelings that come our way from time to time mean that we are human.

People need help. We are all in need of help at one point or another. Whether we are dealing with family issues, financial problems, job scares, health woes, sinful weaknesses or any of the emotional hardships that can come along with those and many other troublesome situations, God can help. He is our help – “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Even the man who took out Goliath knew where his help came from. (more…)

If You Could See Your Sand

As a kid I could get mesmerized by a sand timer. It’s such a simple device made of simple parts, but the way it keeps up with such a complicated thing like time still captures my attention.

Sand timers point out a simple but important fact— whether we see it or not, time is passing by and it’s piling up right in front of our face. Moses penned long ago, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalms 90:12). More than likely, Moses had quite a bit more sand than you or I have but his sand still ran out.

If you could see the sand that represents all the time that you have in life passing by in front of you, would it cause you to do things differently? Would you appreciate each grain more? Would the “big things” seem a little smaller and the “little things” seem bigger? Would you think more often about what will happen when that sand runs out?

What we do with the sand we are given is important because one thing is for sure, after the sand runs out here there won’t be any need for it in the hereafter. EA

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.Matthew 25:46