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Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

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.

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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!

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Solomon wrote, “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” Proverbs 6:20 (ESV).

 

Fathers play a very important role of helping shape the character, the very life and future of their children. A father’s devotion and commitment to God teaches his children to also love and serve the same God. When a father fails to live his faith he also teaches his children that spirituality and devotion to God are not that important.

 

Fathers are one of the most important spiritual influences a child has. His commitment to his family, his love and attention to his wife, his guidance and example to his children teach them about his faith, his character, and his hope for eternity. Fathers cannot underestimate the role they play in the eternal life and salvation of their children. And fathers cannot devalue how important their advice, their encouragement, and their patience are to their child’s life here on this earth and in preparation for life eternal.

 

Being the father that God called you to be is the most important role you will ever play!

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How good are you at remembering? Some people have what is referred to as “photographic memory.” Imagine having the ability to recall a moment in time, who said what, where you where, on what date and time, what you and they were wearing, and even the weather and temperature at that moment. If you’re a student, and can recall everything, that must be an amazing blessing!

 

The writer of the book of proverbs says, “The memory of the righteous is a blessing” Proverbs 10:7 (ESV). I don’t think he was talking about the ability to recall information but rather how wonderful it is to leave behind good memories, good thoughts and positive feelings, to those who survive us.

 

I have conducted or attended countless funerals. All of them are sad, because there are loved ones who are no longer with us. But, even during those times we may speak loving, happy words about our loved one and recall memories of good times we shared. What a blessing it is to cherish those memories until we’re together again.

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What amazing creatures are the ants. Sometimes we find them inside our homes. We wonder where they might have come from. The house looks to be so tightly insulated, not even air can get in…but the ants can. And it can be very difficult to get rid of them.

 

I guess I can’t really blame them. They’re always working for the benefit of the colony. I admire them, as they walk single file, sometimes carrying large pieces of a leaf, much bigger than they are. They walk a long distance back to their home, to feed the queen and the rest of the colony.

 

They’re probably some of the most selfless creatures, always giving all they are for the sake and health of the colony.

 

What an example for us to imitate. “Look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Proverbs 6:6 (MSG).

 

We should be selfless, like the ant, and work diligently for the benefit of the entire family.

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A WORD FOR YOUR FAMILY

We have heard it said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but that is far from the truth.

 

Words do hurt, but words can also heal. Words can tear down, and words can build up. Words can create conflict, but words can also bring peace.

 

King Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” Proverbs 25:11 (ESV).

 

From week to week, we will share a word for your family. Words that will encourage you, inspire you, and make you think. Common, everyday words, but with a biblical message. They are words we often use without a second thought, and words about which we must think carefully.

 

A word for your family will be presented by us, the Family Ministries Directors of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 

Watch for the word every week, write it down, meditate on it, and use the lessons to strengthen your family life!

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It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path, a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules. Proverbs 15:10 (MSG)

 

Dr. Justin Coulson[i], the author of What Your Child Needs From You: Creating a Connected Family, writes that we often try to motivate teens with rewards and punishment—but there are a lot of problems with that approach.  What motivates a teenager is fun stuff such as friends, music, friends, electronic devices and social media, friends, sleeping in, and, yes, friends.  On the other hand, we know what doesn’t motivate a teenager…anything boring such as cleaning up, studying, practicing musical instruments, exercising, etc.

The most often used approach to discipling kids is with carrots or sticks, that is, with rewards or punishment.  For instance, if the kids haven’t done their chores, they don’t get their electronic devices. If they have done their chores, they get pocket money (and devices, etc.). In theory, this could work just fine. But parents struggle every day to put it into practice.

Coulson suggests that rewarding and punishing children based on their actions can send the message that our love is conditional.  Taking ideas from Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards, Couldson explains some possible other problems with the carrot-and-stick approach:

  1. The promise of a reward is also a promise of a punishment. As he explains, “Implicit in every promise of a privilege is the threat that the privilege or reward can be taken away.
  2. Using rewards and punishments is bad for your relationship. Because children often perceive that rewards mean approval, and approval means love, we may be sending them the message that our love is conditional.
  3. It ignores reasons! When we use this method we fail to recognize the reasons why our child may not be motivated.
  4. Intrinsic motivation is undermined. When children are motivated for the reward, or to avoid the punishment, they’ll put in the smallest amount of effort possible, and as they put in less effort and become even less motivated, the rewards have to increase. (will continue)

 

Father, we need all your wisdom to help disciple our children.

[i] http://family-studies.org/motivating-kids-without-carrots-and-sticks/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=c522b8ed26-Newsletter_100&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-c522b8ed26-104541745

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What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. Proverbs 19:22 (NKJV)

 

Laura T. Coffey[i], of TODAY Parenting, compiled at five unexpected ways to teach kids to be kind and thoughtful as part of their “Raising Kind Kids” challenge  These are great ideas from parents.

  1. Have your child help with pet care. Helping with pet care can teach children empathy and compassion. Make sure that the pet you chose for them is one that is appropriate for their age and that is safe for them.
  2. Travel with your kids — and unplug while you’re away. As one parents writes, “There’s no road rage when you’re skipping stones or trekking up a hill. There’s no cyber-bullying when you’re at a place with no cell phone reception. And there’s no feeling left out of a situation when the only cliques are herds or elk or bison.” She adds, “Take a trip to a National Park. Your kids will learn about wildlife and conservation efforts…They’ll learn how not to disrupt wild animals in their natural habitat, and how to respect living things.”
  3. Help them understand that everyone has a story. As one parent wrote, “Maybe the mean girl at school is desperate for attention because she doesn’t get any at home. Or, the kid that wears the same outfit almost every day to school does so because he doesn’t have any other clothes that fit…When we remember that everyone comes fully loaded with a back story of their own, we’re more likely to judge less and empathize more.”
  4. Realize they’ll tend to copy your habit of saying “thank you.” Tell every member of the family “thank you” even when they do things that are expected and ordinary.
  5. Lead by example. It’s the most powerful tool you’ve got. When we talk about the annoying neighbor, the boring preacher, the horrible music at church, they will end up imitating us. Likewise, when they hear express appreciation for what others do they will follow our example. Actions also show kindness and are a very tangible way of teaching the lesson of kindness.

 

Father, help me to be kind so I may show and teach kindness.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/5-unexpected-ways-teach-kids-be-kind-thoughtful-t55986

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She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. Proverbs 31:19 (NKJV)

 

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.  She then added maintaining a shared faith as the third one.  Finally:
  2. Focus on teamwork, not me-work. When we get married we stop thinking of work in terms of our own individual professional status, income, or satisfaction and instead approach work from a more teamwork-oriented perspective.  One of the men in Bradford Wilcox’ research told her: “The measure is not competing W-2’s between man and wife, but creating a life, and managing behaviors that produce good kids.”

The question is how you choose to divide work and family time; that is different for each family.  According to the 2010-2011 Survey of Marital Generosity, spouses who “see their relationship in terms of ‘we’ versus ‘me’” are more likely to report they are happily married, and much less likely to report that their marriage is likely to end in separation or divorce.

One important item needs to be emphasized:  praise and affirmation helps.   Many men feel inadequate as financial providers for their family.  It is critically important that you tell your husband those things you appreciate about him, and what a great husband he is, and how much it means to you that he takes the extra time to help the kids with homework.  Those words can help your husband understand that you feel providing doesn’t just mean money.

The reality is that the four keys that came out of Bradford Wilcox’ research are good not just for households where the mom is the breadwinner, this is good advice for all couples, regardless of who brings home the biggest paycheck.

Father God, help us to work together as a team under your guidance and to triumph together as a couple and as a family.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)

 

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.
  2. Maintain a shared faith. Many of the happily married fathers in female breadwinner families Bradford Wilcox contacted credit their shared faith as the glue that holds their marriage together. In general, a shared religious faith is one of the strongest predictors of marital quality.  Research has shown that those couples that report that God is at the center of their marriage, that attend religious services together, and that are involved in the life and mission of their faith community are more likely to say they are very happy in their marriages.   Being engaged in a church gives men a unique sense of purpose as a husband and father as well as a community where a family-centered way of life is honored.  In addition, being part of a faith community also serves as one way to deepen intimacy with their wives; in fact, Bradford Wilcox’ research indicates that couples who share a strong faith are significantly more likely to report high levels of sexual satisfaction.

A shared faith is not only important for our marriage but also for our family and particularly our children.  Take a look at these words:  “Every family is a church, over which the parents preside. The first consideration of the parents should be to work for the salvation of their children. When the father and mother as priest and teacher of the family take their position fully on the side of Christ, a good influence will be exerted in the home. And this sanctified influence will be felt in the church and will be recognized by every believer. Because of the great lack of piety and sanctification in the home, the work of God is greatly hindered. No man can bring into the church an influence that he does not exert in his home life and in his business relations.”[ii]

Father God, help us to have a strong faith, as husband and wife, so we may have a healthy marriage and family relationship.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance, p. 549

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