Posted in christian, christianity, Faith, spiritual

How Can I Get Out Of This Mess


“Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25 NLT).

Reposted from Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

Here is the testimony of a Chinese Christian: “I walked through the road of life and had fallen into a great ditch. The ditch was filled with depression, discouragement, and sin. As I lay in that ditch, Mohammed came along and said, ‘It’s your fault you’re in the ditch. You offended Allah, and this is your just punishment.’ Then Marx came by and said, ‘You’re in the ditch because of class warfare. You must revolt.’ But after the government changed, I was still in my ditch. Then Buddha came along and said, ‘You’re not really in that ditch. You just think you’re there. It’s all an illusion of the mind. Be at peace.’ Then Confucius came by and said, ‘Here are the 10 steps of self-attainment by which you can get out of your ditch. If you will struggle, you will climb out eventually.’ But as much as I struggled and strained, I couldn’t get out of the ditch, because it was too deep.

“Then one day, Jesus Christ came by and saw me in my ditch. Without a word, he took off his white robe and got down in the muddy ditch with me. Then he lifted me up with his strong arms and got me out of the ditch. Thank God that Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself.”

Jesus did for you what you could not do for yourself.

If you want healing in your life, you have to believe that Christ can change you. Romans 7:24-25 says, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (NLT).

The answer to your problem is a person. Who’s going to be lord of your life? Who’s going to call the shots? You or Jesus Christ? When you’re mastered by him, you can master your problems.

God has the power you are lacking. He’ll help you out.

 

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Posted in christian, christianity, Faith, spiritual

Trust


Trust that God knows your needs and can provide for you. – Rick Warren
Posted in christian, christianity, Faith, spiritual

How to Love Your Kids Unconditionally


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Reposted from Pastors.com

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a, “If you love someone . . . you will always believe in him, and always expect the best of him” (TLB).

From the Phillips translation, that same verse says, “Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.”

We can face just about anything if we know somebody believes in us. Families are supposed to do that. We’re to give that kind of love to our kids.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s unconditional. It’s a forever bond. No stupid mistake on our part, no dumb decision, no period of rebellion, no overwhelming doubt — nothing can separate us from that forever bond with God, our Father.

As parents we are to develop that same kind of love for our kids. No matter what stupid thing our kids do, no matter how many times they walk away, we believe in them.

God wants you to treat your kids the way he treats you.

Parenting is an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re so proud of them, you can hardly wait to squeeze them. The next minute you’re frustrated with them and fed up with their behavior.

You may be worried about your kids. You may be frustrated with your kids. You may be fearful about the direction one of them is going. You may be discouraged. If the truth were known, you may be disappointed in one or more of your kids.

Maybe the deepest hurt in your life is when you think of your child or your children. You feel like giving up sometimes, but you can’t resign as a parent. You signed on for life.

If you try to parent in your own power, you’re going to fail. It takes God’s love. Human love runs out. There is a limit to how much you can handle. There’s a limit to how much you can take.

There are days and there are nights when you don’t have any more to give, and you know it. You want to say, “Take care of yourself!” Because human love does run out.

What you need to do is get plugged into God. God is love. He’s the source of all love. When you’re plugged into him, he’ll give you power and energy and love that you didn’t know you had.

God will also give you the wisdom you need. So no matter how you feel emotionally about your kids today, Jesus is ready to help.

The key to becoming a great parent is to become a godly person. How?

First, you invite Jesus Christ into your life. “Lord, become the manager of my heart.”

Second, you pray and say, “God, I need your help daily. I need the wisdom and the love and the patience to be a wise parent.”

Third, you ask your kids to pray for you. I pray for my kids so I ask them to pray for me. Say, “I want you to pray that I’ll be a good parent.”

It may have to start with an apology. There may have to be a little reconciliation first. You may have to contact them, call them on the phone and say, “I wasn’t always the parent I should have been. I feel bad about that. But I want things to change. I want to be the kind of parent God wants me to be and that you need, so I’m going to ask you to forgive me. I apologize.”

It’s never too late to start showing God’s unconditional love and forgiveness to your kids. God never gives up on us. So never given up on your kids!

Posted in christian, christianity, Faith, spiritual

Hope for Hurting Parents When Kids Rebel


Reposted from Pastors.com

As a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when a child rebel-400x267makes rebellious and destructive decisions. And thankfully, there’s a story in the Bible that offers us a lot of insight.

What has often been called “the story of the prodigal son” is really a picture of how God shows his holiness, his goodness, and his kindness to his children – both of his sons were rebellious in their own ways. Some of the insights we learn about parenting from this story might surprise you.

The story, found in Luke 15:11-32, unfolds in three stages.

Stage 1: Rebellion.

Beginning in verse 11, “Jesus said, `There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.’”

Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship, there’s going to be a struggle. It’s a struggle for control, a power struggle.

At birth, as a parent, you are 100 percent in control. But as your child grows, the power gets transferred. Your control is not permanent. Kids want control sooner than we want to give it. They think they deserve it sooner than we’re ready to give it out. Kids have a sin nature. If you don’t believe that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” you’ve never been a parent.

So what do you do when a child is legally independent and you can’t control them anymore?

  1. Let them go.
  2. Let them make their own mistakes.
  3. Let them experience the consequences of their own choices.

There is a price tag for rebellion. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (NIV).

How do you as a parent feel when your child rebels? Guilty? Embarrassed? We tend to practice a lot of self-condemnation when our children rebel, but you are not the only influence in your child’s life. Your child has choices that he makes. She has friends that she chooses. He has teachers that you don’t control. She has books and movies that she sees. He has all kinds of influences and choices.

Stage 2: Regret.

Back to our story. Verse 17 says, “When he came to his senses…” You might be praying for that sentence in your child’s life. When is my kid going to wake up? When is he going to come to his senses? When is he going to see that he’s ruining his life? You’re praying for that.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.””

Notice the change in attitude. He goes through a process of re-evaluation, regret, and repentance.

What do you do during this stage, while you’re waiting for your child to come to repent? Three things.

  1. Pray for your child, non-stop.
  2. Commit your child to God’s hands.
  3. Wait patiently.

Stage 3: Return.

Verse 20 says, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Remember that in this story, this is the ideal father responding. This is God. This is not a typical human being. This is what God would do.

In fact, it is what God does to you in your rebellion. It’s a model for us.

  1. Love them faithfully, stubbornly.
  2. Accept them unconditionally and affectionately. (This doesn’t mean you approve of their actions.)
  3. Forgive them completely.

Verse 22 says, “But the father said to his servants.`Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate!’”

What I like about this father is he didn’t rub it in. He didn’t keep reminding his son, holding it over his head the rest of his life. The father gave him a second chance. He forgave him completely.

This story shows how God deals with our rebellion. That’s the primary purpose of it. We’ve taken matters into our own hands. The Bible says that we’ve all sinned and we’ve all done our own thing. We’ve messed up our lives. But God says, “Come on home!” God gives us another chance.

 

Posted in christian, christianity, Faith, Positive News, spiritual

The Beatitudes of Jesus


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Reposted from Pastor’s Community

We all have hurts, habits, and hang-ups. What’s yours? Stress? Fears? Overwork? Unhealthy or unholy attractions? Addictions? Regrets? Worry? Bad habits? Anger? Dishonesty? The overwhelming need to control? Finances? Perfectionism? Resentment? Compulsive thoughts? And the list goes on.

Every problem in your life has the same root cause. Every problem in your life starts when you play God.

Jesus starts his most famous Sermon on the Mount by saying, I want to tell you 8 ways to be happy. And the way you think you’re going to be happy is not at all the way the world tells you to be happy. Jesus states each of these 8 ways to be healthy as what we call a “beatitude,” and we refer to them as life’s healing choices.

The first beatitude is the first healing choice, which I refer to as the reality choice, for getting rid of your habits, your hurts, and your hang-ups that mess up your life. Matthew 5:3, the first Beatitude “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (NLT).

And what does it mean to be “poor in spirit?” It means I admit I need help and that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing, and my life is unmanageable. That is what it means to be poor in spirit. It means to acknowledge that I can’t control and manage everything in my life but I need God’s help.

The second choice is the hope choice. It is the choice to earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, that he has the power to help me to change. It’s based on the second beatitude, found in Matthew 5:4, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (NLT).

This third choice is a critical choice, because the next 5 really build on whether you make a commitment to this or not. That’s why we call it the commitment choice. Jesus said in Matthew 5:5, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth” (NLT). And to be meek means to consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

The fourth choice is called the housecleaning choice. We make this choice when we say, “I openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.” Jesus said in this beatitude, in Matthew 5:8, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (NLT). And being pure in heart means getting what’s on the inside of me on the outside of me.

The fifth choice is the transformation choice, in which I voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask him to remove my character defects. It’s based on what Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “ God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” When I make this choice, I’m deciding that I want to allow God to replace my hurts, habits, and hang-ups with a whole new life.

The sixth choice is the relationship choice. Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, 9, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy… God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (NLT). This is where I evaluate all of my relationships, offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me, and make amends for harm that I have done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

The seventh choice is the growth choice. I start to grow and get spiritually healthy and develop maturity when I reserve a daily time with God for Bible reading, self-examination, and prayer in order to know God and his will for my life and to gain the power to follow his will.

And the eighth and final choice is the sharing choice, when I turn outwardly and help others to take these same steps. It’s part of being a peacemaker, and it’s really the great result of having started walking through recovery. Nothing is more contagious than the life-changing power of the Gospel.

Long before there was a recovery or addiction program, Jesus used one of his greatest sermons to lay the foundation for our healing from every hurt, habit, and hang-up!