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Archive for the ‘1 Samuel’ Category

A story is told of a newborn baby that was abandoned in the cold of winter. The mail carrier saw a bundle near a house. He thought he heard the faint sound, perhaps an animal. Carefully he unwrapped the bundle to discover a baby, nearly frozen to death.

Immediately he called 911 and held the baby as close to him to begin to warm him up until the police and ambulance arrived. They took the baby to the hospital, and miraculously, the baby survived.

It is hard for us to understand who would abandon a newborn baby at any time of the year. In many states, all they have to do is take him to a police station or a fire station, no questions asked!

There is one thing we can count on: “The LORD will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the LORD to make you his very own people” 1 Samuel 12:22 (NLT2).

God will never abandon us. He loves us…we are His own! (more…)

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Dating your type

And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Samuel 9:2 (NKJV)

 

What is your type?  Tall, dark and handsome. Blonde and athletic with a great sense of humor. Quiet and book-smart.  You might think that having a certain kind of person in mind can be like having a road map to a happy future as part of a couple.  You might even find that looking for someone with a specific set of traits can be exciting.  The question is whether focusing on a particular type of person the best strategy for trying to find a serious romantic partner?  But that may not be not necessarily true.

Leslie Becker-Phelps[i], of WebMD, writes, “People sometimes find that dating their type is a disaster. A common example of this is women who are attracted to ‘bad boys’ who are exciting, but also can’t sustain an intimate relationship.”

The fact is that finding someone who you believe to be your type isn’t as important as finding a partner who is not only attractive to you, but who is also able to nurture a fulfilling relationship with you.  Becker-Phelps suggests that instead of hunting down your type, you should think about your personal values and priorities in life:

  • How important is it for you that your partner shares your religious values?
  • Do your desires for a family and beliefs about how to raise children mesh?
  • Do you agree on the balance of buying things and saving money?

We hope these types of considerations may change your whole approach to dating. You may end a relationship with someone that you are attracted to because you don’t like how they treat you, or you may decide to give someone else more of a chance, because you connect well on so many other important levels.

Father God, so many aspects of life are so much more important than just looks.  Help me to see others as you see them.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/11/does-looking-for-your-type-help-or-hurt.html?ecd=wnl_men_112815&ctr=wnl-men-112815_nsl-promo-4_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Relationship capital – 1

Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD”– 1 Samuel 30:26 (NKJV)

 

For many, time is the most valuable asset.  They say things like, “time is money.”  But we only so much time in our day or in our lifetime.  It cannot be multiplied, it cannot be rebuilt.

For others, the most valuable asset is money.  They might say things like, “money makes the world go around.”  Money can grown and may even be replenished if lost.

One thing that we can invest in and grow and get dividends for a lifetime and beyond – invest in relationships.  Relationships shape us as human beings in ways that neither time, nor money, nor things can. Relational value outweighs other values because relationships can simultaneously be the investment and the investor.

Stephen Covey, author of the best-seller book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, uses the term Emotional Bank Account as he describes “the amount of trust that’s been built in a relationship.”  We build a healthy “reserve” as we interact with others and exercise love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

So how can we build and maintain relational capital?  Jennifer Mcafee[i] suggests four simple steps to enrich this lasting asset? How can we intentionally build an Emotional Bank Account?

  1. Focus your attention. When you are with other people, silent your smart phone, don’t just put it on vibrate. Better yet, Place it out of sight and out of mind, and instead make eye contact with them and mentally engage what they are saying. Your undivided attention will let the person know they are the most important thing to you in that moment.
  2. Send handwritten thank-you notes. Expressions of appreciation are wonderful ways to pay it forward. Everyone appreciates appreciation. Develop the habit of saying thank you for people’s time, teamwork, and investment by sending them a handwritten note.

Father God, you have blessed me with so many people who have enriched my life.  Help me to invest in the lives of others, too.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Four-Simple-Steps-to-Building-Relational-Capital/

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Music helps your mind – 1

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. 1 Samuel 16:23 (NKJV)

Brain researchers have seen how your brain lights up like a Christmas tree when you listen to music.  Serusha Govender, from WebMD[i], tells us of five ways music helps your mind.

  1. Learning to play a musical instrument boosts memory. Playing an instrument of any kind will sharpen your memory recall and protect your mind from the ravages that come with old age. Because the process involves a complex list of tasks, like finger placement and reading musical notes, it expands your working memory capacity. With time and practice, your brain learns to perform more tasks simultaneously without getting overloaded which will help you remember information longer.  In addition, playing in a group, like a band or an orchestra, gives you the ability to extract smaller pieces of information from a larger, more complex landscape, which will help you fine-tune your long-term learning skills.
  2. Musical training makes you brainier. Because learning to play an instrument helps with problem-solving skills, people who’ve had musical training are usually better at math, science and engineering later in life. However, the results are better for those who start young since those young brains are still forming.  As much as some kids may not enjoy it and may complain about having to practice, the more intense the musical training, the more kids’ brains will develop.

Bu the benefits are not limited to children; adults can still benefit from musical training because the mind stays malleable throughout our lives.   As Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California Davis Center for Mind and Brain says, “Keeping your working memory engaged helps slow down cognitive decline… so it’s never too late to reap the benefits.”  Play an instrument, or sing; it’s good for your brain…and for your attitude.

Father God, thank you for giving us such a wonderful way to keep our brains sharp and our attitudes positive.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/5-ways-music-helps-the-mind?ecd=wnl_emw_102815&ctr=wnl-emw-102815_nsl-promo-2_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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“Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. 1 Samuel 2:3 (NKJV)

Brian Dollar[i] identifies and describes more principles that guide our attitudes and our words as we talk with our children.

  1. Don’t talk down to them. One of the most important principles about talking with kids is to avoid being condescending. Talking down to your children assumes that they are inferior and you are their superior.  The truth is that children pick up on this perspective, and they deeply resent it.
  2. Learn to ask great questions and to listen more than you talk. Not all questions are equal! As Dollar states, “Some questions are conversation stoppers, but others are fertilizer for rich interaction. Good questions, spoken with respect and openness, open dialogue with your children so they can tell you what they perceive about a particular event, person or topic.”  For example, you may ask, “Why do you think that happened?”  “What are some positive things that might result from that choice?” “What might be some unforeseen consequences of that decision?”  “How do you think God feels about that?”  The best statement to draw out a person isn’t a question at all. It is rather, “Tell me more about that.”
  3. There are no dumb questions. Kids can be creative and spontaneous while teenagers like to test their parents. As a result, it is not unusual for them to ask off-the-wall questions — either because they just don’t understand the issues, or perhaps to push back to see if their parents really respect them.   You must realize that there are no dumb questions.  As Dollar says, “Every question should be treated with the same weight of importance and value. It may be harder to treat innocuous or defiant questions with respect, but those need it even more.”

Remember that children “will ask questions in regard to things they see and hear, and parents should improve the opportunity to instruct and patiently answer those little inquiries.”[ii]

Father God, help me to be a better listener to my children and to give them the respect they deserve and need.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance. p. 300

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Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:12 (NKJV)

During the last few days we have been looking at what Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists as the five most common entitlement-prone parenting styles. Today we look at the last style:

  1. The “Over-the-Top” Parent. All of us parents want our children to have a better life than we might have, but if you go far out of your way to make sure your kids have the best childhoods possible, you may be creating in them a sense of entitlement. Some parents today are giving their children lavish holidays, designer bedrooms, picture-perfect outfits, birthday or wedding parties way above and beyond their means, things that their children don’t really need.  As McCready explains, “If they always experience the best of what life has to offer when they’re young, they’ll feel entitled to it, and better, as they grow older.”  If you cut back on those over-the-top tendencies you will end up with happier, more contented children down the road.

Instead of being overly generous, teach your children to take pleasure in the little things by expressing gratitude for what they do have instead of focusing on what they want.  Research shows that grateful people are happier overall.  McCready suggests, “involve your kids, and create daily or weekly gratitude rituals to help them appreciate what’s most important in their lives.”

Ellen White penned these words in a letter to her sons: “My Dear Children: We, your father and mother, feel a deep interest for you. You may sometimes think that your parents are too strict, that they watch you too closely; but, dear boys, our love for you is great. We have dedicated you to God. You are his, and we must keep you separate from the world, that you may be the Lord’s. We you’re your lives to be right and pleasing in his sight. Don’t feel discouraged, my children. Satan is ready to lead your young minds; but go to God, seek him for strength, pray much, give your hearts’ best affections to him.”[ii]

Father God, while I want to give my children the best I can, give me wisdom to not overdo it and teach them to expect more than necessary.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

[ii] White, E.G. An Appeal to Youth, p.74

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GOD brings poverty and GOD brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. 1 Samuel 2:7 (MSG)

Tom Corley writes, “We don’t have a wealth gap in this country we have a parent gap. We don’t have income inequality, we have parent inequality.” [i]  He recommends that parents and schools need to work together to instill the following fifteen good daily success habits:

  1. Limit T.V., social media and cell phone use to no more than one hour a day.
  2. Require children to read one to two educational books a month.
  3. Require children to do aerobically exercise 20 – 30 minutes a day.
  4. Limit junk food to no more than 300 calories a day.
  5. Require that children set monthly, annual and 5-year goals.
  6. Require working age children to work or volunteer at least ten hours a week.
  7. Require that children save at least 25% of their earnings or gifts they receive.
  8. Teach children the importance of relationship building by requiring them to call friends, family, teachers, coaches etc. on their birthdays, and to send thank you cards for gifts or help they received from anyone.
  9. Reassure children that mistakes are good not bad. Children need to understand that the very foundation of success in life is built on learning from our mistakes.
  10. Correct your children when they lose their tempers so they understand the importance of controlling this very costly emotion.
  11. Teach children that seeking financial success in life is good and is a worthwhile goal.

As you look at this list, which continues tomorrow, don’t be overwhelmed because you are not doing them all.  Begin by changing one thing at a time.  Perhaps make one change per week; that will be a positive change.

Father God, help me to begin today, and make one change at a time, so my children will develop healthier habits.

[i] http://richhabits.net/will-your-child-be-rich-or-poor/

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And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men. 1 Samuel 2:26 (NKJV)

Today we continue on the 25 responses to the question “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” and which were listed by Jenna Goudreau, in the Business Insider.[i]

  1. Check in with your favorite knowledge sources. Take time every day to scroll through sites like Quora, specialty blogs, or any other sources that satiate your hunger for knowledge.
  2. Share what you learn with other people. When you can explain ideas to someone else, it means you have more than a passing acquaintance with a concept.
  3. Make two “To Do” lists: one of work-related skills you want to learn now, and another of things you want to achieve in the future. Start by prioritizing the “to learn now” list and begin with one item on that list at a time. At the same time, prioritize the “future” list and research what it would take for you to achieve the items on it.
  4. Write an “I Did” list. At the end of each day, write down what you completed or check off the items in a to do list you had made. This will help you feel better about all the things you accomplished, especially if you’re feeling discouraged. It will also help you reflect on how productive you were and how you can re-structure your to-do lists for the next day.
  5. Start a “Stop Doing” list. Take note of the mindless ways you spend your time. Break old habits, and make time for new, better ones.
  6. Write down what you learn. You can start a blog or use an app like Inkpad to help you keep track of everything you learn. Not only will this be a great way to keep a record of everything you’re doing, but it’s also a good way to refer back to things you have learned. It is also a good motivator to challenge yourself daily.
  7. Stimulate your mind. Going on a daily walk or run is a great way to get fresh blood and oxygen flowing to your brain and to keep your mental health in shape. It’s also a great way to think through difficult decisions or process new information.

Father God, help me to exercise my brain daily, starting right now.

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-habits-to-be-smarter-2015-5

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Super Ts of parenting

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV)

Dr. Tim Clinton,[i] president of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), shares what he calls the “super Ts” which are the foundation of any good parenting, a basic guide for all parents on how to build relationship and bring up a happy and healthy child.   It is important to remember that for many of these tasks the single parent will need the help of other adults. No one person can accomplish all these alone.

Time. There is no substitute for every hour, minute, and second of quality time fathers and mothers spend with their children. Kids need heavy doses of you every day if possible.  Love is spelled T.I.M.E.

Touch.  This means a hug and kiss, holding hands, brushing hair, wrestling, high fives, even cuddling on the couch.  Most child experts agree kids need at least eleven touches a day.

Talk.  Find something in common to talk about, ask your child about his or her day, learn something together.

Truth.  It is the parent’s responsibility to ground their children in the truth of God’s word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Read it, live it, teach it.

Tenderness.  Love your children unconditionally, and when it comes to discipline use a soft hand even when children irritate, argue, or disappoint.  Learn the way your child gives and receives love, their love language, and overdose him or her with that love!

Teaching.  Your child is always learning from you, whether you are present or not.  Don’t miss a moment to teach your child important life lessons.

Tenacity.  Kids need structure and stability more than ever, and parents need to be their reference point, an anchor that holds firmly against powerful countercurrents.

Tomorrow.  Give your child the safety of today and the assurance of a better tomorrow, the “blessed hope” of an eternity with Him.  Fill your children’s hearts with hope. There is no better inheritance than a legacy of hope in a godly future.

Father God, help us to be the parents to our children that will ground them in your truth and in the hope of eternity with you.

[i] http://singles.ag.org/singleparents/parentalissues/?targetBay=87e62f4b-fc8a-416e-8971-b6fd3469c2bd&ModID=2&Process=DisplayArticle&RSS_RSSContentID=22864&RSS_OriginatingChannelID=1255&RSS_OriginatingRSSFeedID=4963&RSS_Source=

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Suicide Is Not Painless

Scripture: (1 Sam 31:4 NKJV)  Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it.

Observation: After the defeat before the Philistines and the death of his son Jonathan, Saul his situation as the fulfillment of the supposed seance with the late prophet Samuel.  In the darkness of his soul, Saul could see no way out of his situation and asked his armor bearer to kill him.  But when his armor bearer would not do it, Saul fell on his sword and took his own life.

Application: The first time I heard the lyrics of the movie and TV show M.A.S.H. I was shocked.  The music is one of the best recognized and reminds us of a comedy based loosely on the real-life army hospital during the Korean War.  But the lyrics, which were written for the movie, are shocking, and a horrible lie many have come to believe:

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…
[REFRAIN]:
that suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it’s too late, and…
[REFRAIN]

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.
[REFRAIN]

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.
[REFRAIN]

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…
[REFRAIN]

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’
[REFRAIN]

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you please.

My brother-in-law was a deputy sheriff in his early thirties when he took his own life with his service gun.  Eight years later, his family still suffers the consequences of his actions and every year at the anniversary of his death everyone in the family remembers with deep sorrow his actions and the void he left.  While the person taking his/her life may think suicide is quick and painless, the consequences to anyone who knows them are most painful and last a lifetime.
If you have thoughts of suicide, these options are available to you:

* Dial: 911
* Dial: 1-800-273-TALK
* Check yourself into the emergency room.
* Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
* Stay away from things that might hurt you.
* Most people can be treated with a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.

If You Don’t Have Insurance

The following options might be used:

* Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
* Look in your local Yellow Pages under Mental Health and/or Suicide Prevention; then call the mental health organizations/crisis phone lines that are listed. There may be clinics or counseling centers in your area operating on a sliding or no-fee scale.
* Some pharmaceutical companies have “Free Medication Programs” for those who qualify. Visit the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill website at http://www.nami.org for more information.

Prayer: Father, life is precious and the actions we take not only affect us but affect everyone around us.  Loving God, help us to never consider ending our life but rather to seek the help that is available to us through many sources and from You.  Help us to always treasure life, as Your gift to us, and as Your gift through us to others.

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