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Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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A miscarriage is the loss of a life while in the womb. We have experienced this pain personally twice when our dreams and hopes were dashed when in that moment we realized we would never hold our baby, or see it grow.

 

Experiencing a miscarriage is not uncommon. There are numerous reasons given by medical professionals why life was not sustained, but no reason seems to satisfy this ache and longing in your heart when it happens to you.

 

The psalmist wrote, “With your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.” Psalm 139:16 (CEV)

 

God knows us, even before birth! In those dark moments, as we grieved our losses, we took comfort in knowing that Jesus saw, Jesus knew, and surely, Jesus must have shed a tear along with us. He was right there beside us in that hospital room.  If you have experienced this grief, this loss, please know that Jesus is right there with you and He will see you through!

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Storms can often be scary, especially for young children. And, the sound of the rain beating against the window panes or the sudden, loud clap of thunder can startle even older people. We look at each other for a sign of reassurance.

 

I can imagine what it must have been like when the water on the Sea of Galilee was rocking the boat in which Jesus and His disciples were. When a storm breaks and we’re home, at least we’re on solid ground, safe within the four walls and roof of our residence. But on a small boat, being rocked by the waves, the wind howling, the rain soaking them all, it must have been terrifying to all…except for Jesus. “He made the storm stop and the sea be quiet” Psalm 107:29 (CEV)

 

The storms of life can be scary too and today’s word -“Storm,” -reminds us that Jesus can calm the storms in our life. It is scary trying to navigate troubled waters, but Jesus never leaves us to traverse that ocean alone.

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Once you have children you understand the importance of making your house child-proof. That means that you put covers over electric outlets so they won’t stick their little fingers in the sockets and get hurt. That also means you put gates at the top and bottom of the stairs so they won’t fall down the steps and…get hurt. That means you roll up, cut off, or in some way make sure there are no chords, strings, ropes, or anything that could cause them to accidentally hang and choke themselves.

 

Child-proofing your home also means you lock chemicals such as cleaning products, medicine and anything they may ingest and die of poisoning.

 

We take all those precautions in order to ensure the kids’ safety and well-being. But, how do we protect them from emotional harm? Are we as careful with our words as we are with other possible dangers? “Your words spread poison like the bite of a cobra.” Psalm 58:4 (CEV)

 

Watch your words carefully. They will build and strengthen up your children, or will tear them down and destroy them like poison from a cobra.

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Conflict is a very natural part of life and of every relationship. Because everyone is different, there’s bound to be a time when they disagree and conflict may arise. Conflict in and of itself is not bad; it’s how we handle conflict that could determine whether the relationship breaks up or if it lasts for a lifetime of love and good memories.

 

Peace does not necessarily mean the absence of conflict but rather that conflict is being managed appropriately. Ignoring or avoiding conflict generally leads to bitterness and resentment which generally leads to feeling less love and even hatred. And when you get to that point, it is very difficult to find any good reason to stay together.

 

The psalmist wrote, “For the sake of my family and friends, I say it again: live in peace!” Psalm 122:8 (MSG)

 

Learn to manage your conflict in such a way that you will find positive, workable solutions which will be satisfactory to all of you. Ask yourself, “What difference will this make in three days? In three years? In thirty years? Learn to live in Peace.

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Teens and marriage

Both young men and maidens; Old men and children. 13Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalm 148:12-13 (NKJV)

 

Americans now seem to be leaning toward the idea that marriage is more of an option instead of a milestone on the path to adulthood.  It is interesting to note that although the mean age at first marriage has shown an overall increase, the timing of marriage still varies by sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.

According to an article by Kelly Roberts, Daniel Hubler, and Kate Kirk[i], Oklahoma has one of the nation’s youngest ages of first marriage as well as one of the highest divorce rates.  Their research team set out to gain greater clarity about how cultural niches might impact adolescents’ attitudes about marriage.  Here’s what they learned:

How groups were similar.  When asked about their general attitudes about marriage, most students agreed that it “takes work” and that it is “for life.”   They were more specific about the types of daily life and relationship skills needed to have a healthy marriage and they listed such things as communication, “not fighting,” learning to cook, getting a job, “commitment,” etc.  Overall, each group seemed to have given a great deal of thought to the issue and considered the notion of marriage seriously.

How groups differed.  One of the focus groups used their grandparents as their reference group.  One of the students made the comment, “I think it’s just our parents’ generation that messed up. I’ve seen my grandparents, and they’ve stuck together.”  Students in other groups spoke about their parents’ marriage in positive terms.

Students in the alternative school group said the ideal age for marriage was 18-22, while students in the suburban group said 25-30 is best.  And finally, when asked whether or not they could successfully navigate a marriage the responses also varied.  One student in a high-income group observed, “Every friend in my group has parents who have been divorced at least once.”  A strong, intact, healthy marriage is still the best lesson for our kids.

 

Father, bless our marriage and may it be a positive lesson for my kids

[i] http://family-studies.org/teens-attitudes-toward-marriage-vary-widely-across-oklahoma/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=63a7bf26ba-Newsletter_108&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-63a7bf26ba-104541745

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They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause. Psalm 109:3 (NKJV)

 

According to MSN Lifestyle[i], here are eleven early warning signs divorced people say they should have acted on—but didn’t. (We’ll explore them in the next few days)

  1. I let other people take priority over my husband. This is how Valerie Jones, of Glen Allen, Virginia, tells her story: “My ex-husband and I never made sure we had date night, private time, or special moments. Our careers and our children became the priority.”  She then adds, “A decade later we realized we weren’t even friends any more. We were roommates who raised children together. A couple of years before our divorce, I forgot about our anniversary, which was totally unlike me.”  Another wife says she put her kids first, her career second, and helping anyone else who needed her third; her ex-husband came in dead last by default.  As she says, “I remember one time he asked me to stop writing an email and come watch a movie with him.  I said I had to write an email because our friend’s father had just died. My husband’s response was, ‘Someone is always dying.’ And it was true. I’d been to six funerals that fall. Helping someone through a tragedy is obviously a great need, but I was helping too many people. Sometimes you can destroy the things that are the most important to you because you put everyone else first.”
  2. I ignored my gut. Courtney Klein’s boyfriend, “treated me as a ‘trophy’ girlfriend, then wife, pressuring me to dress sexily so he could show me off.” She continues, “I felt very vulnerable and because I didn’t have a support system overseas, I allowed myself to become totally dependent on him. In retrospect, I should have left before we got married.”  As she looks back, she admits on their wedding day, as she walked down the aisle, her gut told her to run, but she ignored it.  She explains, “It was more than just nerves. It was a gut feeling that I was making an absolutely huge mistake.”  Of course, it would be better to recognize this sign before saying I do than afterward.

Recognize any of these signs in your relationship?  Seek help.

 

Father, help me to find professional help before my marriage ends.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/11-early-warning-signs-of-divorce-most-people-miss/ss-AAayKrG#image=1

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