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God obviously knows how lovely, how wonderful, how enjoyable singing is. It is so uplifting to hear a beautiful, joyful, inspiring singer, but it is also good for us when we

do the singing ourselves. Whether it is singing a solo in the shower, or gathering with family and friends, singing is such an energizing experience.

Some recent research[1] revealed that  singing strengthens the immune system, it is a good workout, aids in proper posture, and it helps with sleep. Singing is a natural anti-depressant, it lowers stress levels, and improves mental alertness.

Singing can also widen your circle of friends, boost your confidence, broaden your communication skills, and increase your ability to appreciate other singers. And what a better reason to sing but to praise the God who loves us, created us, and redeemed us from our sin. The sweet singers of the Old testament wrote, “You have rescued me! I will celebrate and shout, singing praises to you with all my heart” Psalm 71:23 (CEV). Gather with your family and sing praises to God!


[1] https://takelessons.com/live/singing/health-benefits-of-singing Accessed 2-18-19

The word tact itself is not found in the Bible, but the concept is. Tact is sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues.  It is having a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid offending somebody else.

Twice in the book of Proverbs, we are advised about the gentle, loving use of our words toward others. “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up” Proverbs 15:1 (CEV). And again, “Patience and gentle talk can convince a ruler and overcome any problem” Proverbs 25:15 (CEV).

At a time when people are so disgruntled with the government, unhappy with their jobs or their boss, dissatisfied with their school or teachers, disillusioned with their spouse or marriage, it would do us all well to practice having more tact with each other.

Paul wrote, “We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT2).

We need to be more lovingly tactful so that we can better reflect Christ to others.

According to Roman legend, soap was named after Mount Sapo, an ancient site of animal sacrifices. After an animal sacrifice, rain would wash animal fat and ash, that collected under the ceremonial altars, down to the banks of the Tiber River.

 

Women washing clothes in the river noticed that if they washed their clothes in certain parts of the river after a heavy rain their clothes were much cleaner. That may have been one of the earliest known uses of soap.

 

We’ll probably never really know who first invented soap, but we sure have benefited from its creation. We use soap to wash clothes and dishes. And most importantly, we use soap to wash our hands and our bodies.

 

But as good as soap is, we need something much stronger to make us right with God. Jeremiah, wrote, “For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord GOD” Jeremiah 2:22 (NKJV).

God established a plan of work for the Levites. They were to begin their work at the age of twenty-five and at the age of fifty they were to retire.  During these twenty-five years they would represent the people before God while at the same time they would speak to the people on God’s behalf.

 

Lifespan has increased and the ability to work has been extended through the years, but the time will come when you can retire and hopefully enjoy the fruit of your years of work. Some may retire and play golf, travel the world, enjoy a hobby- like cultivating a garden- while others may simply choose to do nothing but watch television, lounge around, and rest.

 

While the Levites had to retire at fifty, they could continue to help with some of the duties of their colleagues. Moses instructed them: “They may minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of meeting, to attend to needs, but they themselves shall do no work” Numbers 8:26 (NKJV).

 

Retirement doesn’t mark an end. Rather, it can be a time of new beginnings!

A parent’s love is unlike any other. We may feel physical attraction to someone else or may even be romantically in love with someone, but the love a parent feels for their child begins before they’re even born and doesn’t leave until the parents breathe their last breath.

 

That’s why Isaiah asks the question, “Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you” Isaiah 49:15 (TLB).

 

God, our Heavenly Father, expresses His love for us both in terms of the father’s love and a mother’s love. Generally, a mother has a much closer attachment to their child because, well, God wired them to feel that way. They carried that baby inside the womb for nine months before they were even born. Even adoptive mothers feel this same motherly love for their children. Fathers also feel love for their children, but perhaps in a different way.

 

Love your children in the same way God, our Father, loves you- unconditionally!

Sometimes we use the word friend in a general way to mean people with whom we work or with whom we spend time. Perhaps the better word to use is co-workers, or acquaintances.

 

A friend is someone much closer to us. Someone with whom we have shared some of the most significant, defining moments in our life. A friend does not always agree with us. In fact, a true friend confronts us when what we’re doing is wrong or harmful to us or others.

 

Jesus, the Lord and Master, related to His disciples as His closest friends.

 

Solomon wrote, “Some friends don’t help, but a true friend is closer than your own family” Proverbs 18:24 (CEV). That’s why Jesus is such a different friend. He walks with us, loves us, helps us walk on the right path and even carries us when we’re too tired to walk ourselves.

 

What a Friend we have in Jesus! He is your best and closest friend. He loves you unconditionally, even when you turn your back on Him. Accept His friendship today!

We use them every day. We have keys that open the door of the house, or the office, or the car. Keys that lock important items or documents behind secure doors. We even have electronic keys – we call them “passwords.”

 

Jesus told His disciples, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (NKJV).

 

The keys to which Jesus is referring is the gospel of salvation. We have the information to share with others that will enable them to access the same resources for eternity that we have. The key Jesus was talking about is prayer. I love the words in that small, special book, Steps to Christ, “prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? (SC p.93–95).

 

Use prayer and the gospel to open heaven’s storehouse to your family.

Researchers at Emory University discovered that kids are emotionally healthier and have a better sense of self if they’ve been taught about their relatives and their family history. “Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world.”[1]

 

You can do some basic research as to your heritage and share that with your children. You can talk to your parents, aunts and uncles, or people where you grew up.

 

You also teach your children their heritage through the foods you enjoy. What is that special family recipe that has been passed down through the generations?

 

You may also share about your culture through books, music, and videos, or how about learning a language of your ancestors together?

 

The bible states, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance” Psalm 33:12 (NKJV). The word “nation,” in the original Greek is derived from the same word as “family.”

Blessed is the nation – or family – whose God is the Lord.

[1] http://shared.web.emory.edu/emory/news/releases/2010/03/children-benefit-if-they-know-about-their-relatives-study-finds.html#.XF3bslxKiMq  accessed 2-7-19

A nightmare, someone trying to break into your house, spiders, a disease…What makes you afraid?

 

Because we’re all different, with different experiences, we also fear different things. Some are afraid of heights while others enjoy the thrill of sky diving. Some may be paralyzed at the sight of a small garter snake while others keep large, poisonous snakes as pets.

 

Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, is likely to cause pain, or a is threat. So, fear is not bad…it is a protective mechanism God wired inside every one of us.

 

At the same time, fear can become paralyzing and disabling. Some people are not able to function normally under certain circumstances because of the overwhelming feeling of fear.

 

Kind David wrote in one of his psalms, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” Psalm 56:3 (NKJV). Fear does not have to defeat you or shackle you. David invites us to not be afraid but rather to trust God.

 

Whenever you’re afraid, trust in God.

In his famous book, “What’s so Amazing About Grace?” Philip Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of grace’s life-changing power. Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancey, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. Grace loves today’s addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

 

Someone taught us that “Grace is getting what we don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting what we do deserve.” Justice exacts a penalty, but grace reaches out to us.

 

How often we have been the recipients of harmful words or actions from those closest to us. We may carry the painful scars they have left. We could resent them or even hate them, to our own detriment. But grace, without excusing the abuser, grants us freedom from the bondage of negative feelings toward them. Grace is the heritage we have received from God, “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy” Psalm 145:8 (NKJV).

 

Let grace abound in your family.