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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