Monthly archives: June, 2017

Humility…It Looks Good on You!

 

 

You know when you walk into a room and it’s obvious there’s a wise guy (or wise gal) who, let’s say…is not so humble? As you approach the room, you can hear their brash voice echoing down the hallway. Most words that are coming out of their mouths sound something like, “Me, Myself and I”. Everyone is thinking it, but nobody is saying it. It’s life draining. Even nauseating.

 

If you’re like me, you try to avoid people who come across as proud at all costs. But inevitably, from time to time, we find ourselves mingling with the proud peacocks again.

 

Maybe they’re overcompensating. Maybe they are being manipulative. Maybe they’re just clueless to how they’re coming across. In any case, it’s still rather repulsive.

 

But isn’t it so interesting that the very things that can cause us agitation and a good degree of frustration we can end up being guilty of ourselves?

 

You see, it may look very different than just talking loudly about yourself. What about when you’re out in public and maybe without even knowing it you start sizing yourself up and comparing yourself to those around you? Whether it be someone who is a different race, has a different socioeconomic status, someone who is disabled or someone who doesn’t meet society’s checklist when it comes to looking good…being hot…being a part of the “in” crowd.  Do you consider “them” more important than yourself? I mean really. If we aren’t diligently keeping track of our thoughts, it can be so easy to fall trap to the mindset that we are better than just about everyone around us.

 

One day I strolled into McDonald’s to get the kids an after school snack. As I walked in I quickly became aware of someone who met one of the “categories” I mentioned above. I knew better. I wasn’t proud of my thoughts, but there I stood feeling them anyway. I went about ordering and was carrying a handful when this person noticed I was struggling to get the door open, stepped out of line to go open the door and held it with the biggest, kindest looking smile. Ouch. God quickly convicted me of my arrogance and my attitude towards this person and that I needed to do some work in this area (still do).

 

When Paul writes, “In humility consider others better than yourselves…” (Philippians 2:3 NIV), he uses a verb that means “to calculate,” “to reckon.” The word implies a conscious judgement resting on carefully weighed facts. (Word Biblical Commentary) To consider others better than yourself, then, is not to say that you have no place; it is to say that you know your place. “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you” (Romans 12:3 Phillips).

 

“If I think you are more important than I am…and you think I am more important than you are…and he thinks she is more important than he is…and she thinks he is more important than she is…then in the end everyone feels important but no one acts important.” – Max Lucado


An Encouraging Word

Memories with Dad live long and strong. Playing ball in the yard. Twirling in his arms. Wrestling in the living room. Fishing in the pond. Shooting hoops in the driveway. Dancing. Laughing. Racing. Working. Building. Biking. Living.

Dads.

One of the most important relationships in this life, because it wields such power to shape and influence what we believe about who God is. A loving father can point us directly to the love of God our Heavenly Father, so clearly and directly.

And in the same way, a father who seems distant, angry, hard to please, or vacant, may, unfortunately, invite some difficult feelings in how we view God and his care for us. Many have lost fathers too early in life – due to death, divorce, or abandonment. Others still wrestle through hurtful memories of abuse and fear of the very one who was supposed to protect them.

No matter what our experiences have been growing up, or where we find ourselves now, God still reigns supreme over all. He cares. He loves. He is near. He is trustworthy. And his heart for you as your Daddy shines through every step of life. He is powerful enough to help you navigate through the most difficult of memories and experiences, sheltering, embracing you in it all. And giving you freedom, a blessing to grow, and healing to move forward. We can take every difficult experience and allow God to use it for good, by helping us to become the best parents possible for our own children. Pain is never wasted when God is Supreme over our lives. Where experiences have harmed us, even if unintentional, even if seemingly unfair, God can still use it for his purposes, to bring good through it all.

If you are blessed to be a Dad, you’ve been given a priceless gift in this life. The gift of pointing your children to Christ. The gift of leading. The gift of loving. Your actions matter, how you choose to live makes a difference in the lives of all you know.

We see from research through the years, that kids generally do better socially, academically, and emotionally, when dads are actively involved and participating in their lives. But it’s not just the fact that fathers are physically present that matters, it’s how they are present. Kids thrive most when dads recognize the need to provide a warm, understanding relationship under which their children can share life, learn, and grow.

Words matter. Our kids need to hear them. They thrive under encouraging, supporting, heartfelt words. And young children grow up into adults and yet they still need to hear, loving words from a father’s voice. Wisdom from a daddy’s heart, that lives on long in the lives of others.

Here are 12 things every dad should say to his kids, though there’s many more:

1. I love you. Period. No matter what. Unconditionally. And nothing will ever change that.

2.  I believe in you. You can do it. Anything is possible. You are a winner.  

3. Love God. Love your spouse.

4. I am with you. And even when you can’t see me, you can be assured I’m thinking of you.

5. I am proud of you. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You have great purpose in this world.

6. Respect yourself. Respect others. Respect your Mom.

7. Your character is always more significant than your reputation. Never forget who you are and that you first belong to God. Who you are in secret is just as important as who you are in public, because God sees both.

8. I am sorry. Would you please forgive me? I forgive you.

9. I am praying for you. You have my blessing in all that God calls you to do in this life.

10. Work hard. Save some. Spend a little. Give a lot.

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh. Have fun in life. Every day is an adventure.

12. Be brave. Be strong. But always remember that it’s OK to be afraid. And it’s OK to cry.

Whether or not you ever heard these words from you own dad is not the end of the story. Because God is both the beginning and the end of your story, and He speaks love over you today.

Dads, you are powerful in the lives of your kids. You are hero status. You are a solid foundation. You hold the potential for great influence in the generations to come.

Live wisely. Live well. Live strong. Live with grace. Your Father God is with you, always.

“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

“…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26 


The Unnatural Art of Contentment

 

 

 

It may be a cliche, but it’s true: We always want what we can’t (or just don’t) have.

One person may look at your life and think, “Wow, you have a nice car or a stable job or a great house, you must be content.” But at the same time, you’re probably looking at their life thinking the very same thing about something they have that you don’t. We are each continually longing for the next thing, be it a spouse or putting down roots somewhere or a better job or the next vacation.

Contentment—whether with our living situation, salary, relationship status or whatever else—doesn’t come naturally. It’s something we have to actively cultivate.

God has shown me over the past year what it looks like to fight to be content every day. I use the word “fight” because I believe that learning to be content is just that. I believe it to be one of the biggest struggles we face in life.

We all have legitimate needs and desires given to us when we were created by God, but because of The Fall, we have begun looking to fulfill those desires outside of the only One who can satisfy them. The more we search to meet those needs outside of Christ, the more unsatisfied and discontent we become.

So practically, what does it look like to strive to be content exactly where God has you today?

1. Be Patient With Yourself.

If you struggle with contentment, you are not alone. I believe most people wrestle with it one way or the other. Some people may not even realize they are searching for contentment, but they are constantly seeking after the “next thing” they can do or obtain in life. In Philippians 4, Paul talks about contentment and that he learned to be content. The verb “learned” indicates that Paul had to grow in his understanding of how to be content in all circumstances and this didn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself if you battle with contentment.

2. Cultivate a Thankful Heart.

You may be single, longing to be married. You may be married and want a nicer house or another child. You may want to escape the painful season you are in. You may also be in an abundant and sweet season. No matter where you are, focus on cultivating a thankful heart.

When we stop being thankful for what we have and focus on what we don’t have, discontentment creeps in and we start believing God is holding out on us. Psalm 116:17 says, “I will offer to you [God] the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” This reveals that having a thankful heart doesn’t come naturally to us, but rather it is a sacrifice. Strive to thank God in all circumstances.

3. Focus on Today.

When we constantly look forward to the next season or next vacation or even the next meal, we completely miss the moment we’re in and the blessings found in it. Our time on earth is short—much shorter than most of us would like it to be. Keep your eyes focused on today. Soak up every moment of it. Another day like it will never exist again.

4. Trust in God’s Provision.

The Lord knows exactly what you need when you need it. In the book of Exodus, after the Israelites were miraculously rescued out of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for a while. They began complaining to Moses about not having enough food. God told Moses that He would send bread from heaven to feed them, but every person needed to collect only the exact amount required to fill their stomachs each day.

God is in the business of providing for us. And He does provide for us everything we need each day. We need to open our eyes to the ways He is providing. Focus your eyes on all God has given you each day.

5. Contentment is Found in Christ Alone.

Many Christians have heard the popular verse found in Philippians 4 that says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” We often apply this to various activities we do such as a project at work or an obstacle we want to overcome, however, when reading this verse in context, Paul was talking about how to be content and endure any situation. He says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things him who strengthens me.”

At the end of the day, our circumstances will not make us happy. No matter how much money we have, what kind of house we own or what friends we surround ourselves with, nothing can fulfill us the way Christ can. Whether we eat an amazing meal or go without food, we will not be content based on anything material or circumstantial.

Christ is the only one who can fill the insatiable desire in each of us for something more because God created us for all our desires to be met in Him alone. Christ will help us learn contentment as we rely on Him through everything we go through. He will show us that He can satisfy our deepest longings and needs as we seek Him and a relationship with Him above everything else. Christ loves us so much and wants to meet our needs. As we lean on Him, we too can say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

 

by MELISSA CRUTCHFIELD | Relevant Magazine