Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Friday Feature 1.24.14 – Interacting With Special Needs Children

This week’s feature article (most clicked from Monday’s post) tackles a sensitive topic in an awesome way. It really is worth the read:

Dear Daddy in Seat 16C

Here are just a couple thoughts:

1. Do your best to imagine being this mom.

Parents of special needs kids really have difficulties that are tough to imagine. I think this lady speaks well to the fears of embarrassment or disruption that her child could cause. Many parents of special needs parents will at least feel this, but may not give it a voice like this.

2. How would you react?

Yes, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge for me to read this. I hope you’re challenged too. It would have taken a lot of focus for me to be willing to engage the entire time.

3. Do “special needs” individuals challenge you?

If so, please get to know one. Better yet, get to know and encourage their families. The more we welcome on a regular basis like this man did on a very temporary basis, the more some of these walls will come down!

Think. How would your reaction have communicated to this woman?

Act. Follow the advice in #3!!

Think and Act 1.22.14 – Do Our Words Build or Destroy?

Sounds like a difficult title, but as I think about it, there isn’t much difference with what our words can do.

They can put us or others on a path to building, or they can represent destroying. Here are four examples that will challenge how you use your words. I’ll let the obvious trash talking or gossip stand on its own as destroying type behavior. Let’s look at a few others, both negative and positive, that might be worthy of attention.

Example #1: The “prayer” request

Could a prayer request destroy someone? Why, yes indeed. Some will pass “prayer requests” that are really more intended to spread disagreement over what someone is doing.  Oh, we should pray for so and so, they’ve really gone off track. If it makes you feel better to say they’ve gone off the track than it does to say you are praying for them, then your words are destroying that person.

Example #2: False encouragement

Have you ever had anyone come up to you and encourage you, then tell you they have concerns? If this has happened to you, you wonder if they ever meant to encourage you in the first place? It’s like someone giving you a $10 gift card to Subway then guilting you out of it because they’re hungry. Some gift, right?

If the purpose is to share the concern, then the words someone was wanting to hear as encouragement actually are destroyed because of the confusion that’s created.

Example #3: Well placed concern

Sometimes we talk over concerns.  I recently had a conversation about a tragedy that occurred in our neighboring community of Barberton. It wasn’t one of those conversations just to gripe about how bad everything is. Truly, at the end of the conversation I knew better how to pray for several people involved and even had made a contact to see if someone I knew could help.

In this example, there is no gossip or aimless head-shaking. There is encouragement, an exchange of truth, and a better idea of how to pray for the situation and those affected.

Example #4: Direct building

I mention this because it is one of the most rare and difficult. We are taught in Hebrews 3:13 to encourage one another daily.  In my experience it is a rare thing for someone to go out of their way to say positive things to people. I would challenge you to think about how often you are able to encourage people directly. And if it’s not enough, simply start.

Here are a few ideas to practice direct building. Simply tell someone (appropriately of course) you like their recent hair cut or something they’re wearing. If you have ongoing family or ministry relationships with people, try to point out ways people contribute and tell them specific things they did to make it better.  If you know someone’s been working on a problem, encourage them when you see growth. Encourage spiritual growth or increased commitment.

Think. Are you moving in a direction with your words where they are building? Or, is destroying more the result of the things you say?

Act. It’s important to point out that no one is perfect in this area. And if you’re like me at times, you feel like perfect is on another continent and you have to swim to get there. Acknowledge your failures and take them to God. Jesus died for our forgiveness so it’s important to remember mis-using our words isn’t just a “character flaw” – it’s a sin. Be sure to apologize to anyone you’ve hurt with your words and ask God to give you awareness of the things you’re saying. Finally, commit to take destroying conversations in a building direction!

Tuesday Rambling 1.21.14 – Ways To Affirm Life, and a Financial Quote

Time to throw some thoughts about.

The Weekend

  • Football, Sanctity of Human Life, or Martin Luther King Jr: Which is most important?
  • Seriously, do you ever wish some of the truly important things would generate more discussion, rather than the latest mistake by a professional athlete? Speaking of . . .

Sanctity of Human Life

  • In 2013, I was called “offensive” for suggesting that life begins at conception.
  • If the child in the womb has brain waves, can feel pain, has a heartbeat, all within the first trimester, isn’t it really a child?
  • Further, if the only way a baby in a womb comes about is by a strictly human process using uniquely human cells, how can it be anything but a human?
  • Ways to affirm life: call your representatives and tell them your views; encourage pregnancy center workers with calls, emails, or lunch; develop a relationship with an elderly shut-in person; open your home for foster-care or adoption; pray for those opposed to God’s plans!

This Came Out of My Mouth Today – a Financial Quote:

  • It is much harder to put yourself into financial discipline than it is to reason your way into debt.

What Makes Your Faith Tick?

  • For me, one of the things that generates the most energy in my relationship with Christ is seeing brand new Christians and intentional growth from other Christians.
  • There is no substitute for seeing people genuinely respond to God’s movement in their lives.

Monday Challenge 1.20.14 – Improving Your Parenting Skills, and Reacting to a Special Needs Child

I hope your holiday today includes at least some thankfulness for MLK’s contributions. On to today’s challenge – enjoy these articles and take the time to reflect. Be challenged!

Link of the Week

Three quick things that will help you improve your parenting skills. This probably wasn’t meant to be in depth, but it was helpful for a few quick thoughts. If you’re a parent and you’re like me, you can always stand to think about your parenting!

Special Needs Children

Let this article challenge you.

Question: Could you do this in a completely new situation? It would be tough, but that’s why it’s called Monday challenge!

Question: Anything else you would add?

The Christian Faith

1. Read this article and scroll to the part about the new tolerance.

Question: What do you make of this?

2. This is a very helpful perspective on love. Take some time and read it!

Question: Even if you don’t like grammar, is love more than something we do?

Money

This is worth thinking about. Owning a home is better than renting. I think this may make a few assumptions that are a bit too much, but there are some challenging things here.

Question: Anything here you hadn’t thought about?

Sociology and Marriage

Here’s a decent video on why marriage matters in public policy. This is from the social science perspective.

Question: Did you find this helpful? How so, or how not?

 

Friday Feature 1.17.14 – Six Deadly Enemies of Marriage

Tim Challies posted an article that described six deadly enemies of marriage.

I found the article helpful. So did this week’s readers of my blog! It was the most clicked link from Monday’s post. Click on the link above and check it out if you missed it. Below, find a couple of my own comments.

1. Marriage must be intentional.

None of the six enemies can be fought without intentional decisions. Would any army win any war anywhere without intentional decisions and plans? Look at these six things and ask yourself how intentional you are in fighting against them.

2. God must fuel a good marriage.

Basing your intentional decisions on God is the best way to start fighting the marriage enemies.  Otherwise, you’re fighting in your own strength, which will soon run out. Couples who rely on the grace and strength of Jesus Christ will give themselves a far better ally than their own strength can provide. In fact, Jesus is where the Bible points for how Christian husbands and wives should treat each other. As pointed out in the article, marriage is from God and about God. Why not put Him in the center?

Think. What enemy listed seems to have the biggest advantage against your marriage?

Act. What intentional decisions could you make to strengthen your marriage? If nothing else, start by prayer and searching God’s Word for how you can both defend your marriage and build it up to last over the long haul!