What’s Love Got to Do With It?

August 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Marty Norman

Dear Friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. I John 4:7

A popular song in the 1980’s and ‘90’s was a song by Tina Turner “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” The song calls love a second hand emotion and questions why one would want a heart when it can be broken. It won many awards and great acclaim and was included in a number of Turner’s albums.

Contrast that with scripture which states clearly that love is the answer. God is love. Everyone born of God knows God and that no one can love that does not know God. This is a pretty strong statement. One I’m sure much of the world would not agree with. But further investigation reveals God knew what he was talking about.

Recently a friend who moved from her home shared a profound word with me. Christmas was difficult for her this year – not in her nest of thirty plus years, not surrounded by her Christmas traditions and décor she felt lost and depressed. Discombobulated is how she described it.

But then a miracle happened on Christmas Eve. As she prepared for her first entertaining in her new home, she shopped for groceries and set the table for Christmas lunch. She reported that the heaviness lifted as she prepared for her extended family that was coming for lunch. “That’s what Christmas is all about,” she said. “Love, celebrating the Love that came down from heaven and lived among us; surrounding ourselves with those we love, family and friends. It has nothing to do with a house. It’s all about love.

The truth is there is nothing but love. Love is the answer, and the answer is God. God is love and makes perfect sense once you can understand this simple concept.

As we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day when cards and gifts measure the depth of love, let us remember that this is not true love. True love is the love of Christ, sacrificial love, a love that serves and gives. That is what we are called to be about this Valentine’s Days.

So when you walk down the aisle of the Hallmark store, keep in mind Jesus and what he did for us. Let’s be more concerned with telling others about His love than building ourselves up with expensive and important gifts. A simple “I love you”, a kind deed, a helping hand, an unexpected gift of love, that’s what Valentine’s Day should be all about.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, Jesus. Thank you for coming to earth to show us what real love is. Help us to love as you did, sacrificially and in service to others. If we all did that , the world would be a better place for everyone.

Knowing Where to Turn

By Cami Checketts

I love the show The Biggest Loser. We record it every Tuesday night and watch it as a family sometime during the weekend. With a new season underway, it is heartbreaking to see these people who are so obese that they can barely move. Many of the contestants say that they wouldn’t be able to lose the weight on their own so they had to come on the show or be forever miserable. I think this is so sad. Many of these people have tried to lose weight but have obviously failed and their only hope is to be picked for a reality TV show.

I know there are many people who struggle with weight issues, food addictions and body image. Actually, it’s probably rare not to struggle with one of these. But I truly believe there is help that is completely free, always there for us, and doesn’t require us to turn to things like reality TV. We can pray for help in every aspect of our lives. The Lord doesn’t care if it’s a little or a big problem. He wants to hear from us and He can and will help us.

We are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all of our care on the Lord because he cares for us. Whether we’re struggling to lose weight or trying not to allow our struggles with body image to rule our lives, the Lord can help us. I’ve found that it’s not enough to pray in the morning for help and then go on with my day. Maybe I’m just an extra hard case, but I need to turn to the Lord repeatedly throughout my day. Sometimes I pray for help that I won’t overeat. And sometimes I pray for help that I won’t compare myself to someone with skinny legs.

Whatever issues you face with living a healthy, productive, and faith-filled life, please turn to the One who loves you more than you can fathom. I testify that He loves you, will help you with every problem that you face and will carry you through all the trials of your life.

Nine Tips for Peaceful Progeny

August 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

As my son, recent college graduate, returns home for a final roost before testing his wings, I have been reflecting on our strategies in raising him. I thought I’d share some that were more successful – we’ll save stories of the less successful for another day. I don’t claim these as my own ideas; we gathered whatever worked from friends, books, and our own childhoods.

1. Either/Or –Give children options while guiding them toward your own goals. We used this often enough that four-year-old Matt mimicked our policy with his little sister. “Merry, here’s how you play this game . . . Merry, you can play the way you’re supposed to, or you can just not play. Those are your choices. Do you want to play the way you’re supposed to or not play?”

2. Odd/Even –Matt got odd days, Merry even, for both chores and privileges. Before I’d holler for a helper, I’d remember the date and address the appropriate kid. As we’d head for the car, instead of hearing “Shotgun!” and squabbling, we’d hear, “It’s the second, my day in the front.” No questions asked.

3. Change it Up – Honestly, I’m not so good at this, but my husband Wes is a master. When the kids (and I) circled around in a pointless argument, he abruptly asked some completely unrelated question. Although his tactic was glaringly obvious, we would all frequently comply.

4. No-Thank-You-Bite –Although now I only rarely turn my nose up at anything edible (still no brussel sprouts), as a child I preferred meat and potatoes only. Somewhere I heard that our taste buds change every seven years; true or not, I use it as a mantra for tasting. Although this plan doesn’t eliminate all fussing, we found requiring a bite much more manageable than a whole helping.

5. Two-Minute-Warning –We got much better cooperation with “Two more times down the slide, then we have to go.” If fussing ensued, the number decreased to one more time – or a return to that first strategy: “Two more slides or now – which do you prefer?” Same thing applies to chores: “You need to start cleaning your room in the next thirty minutes” works better than “Get in here and clean your room!”

6. Say Sorry – Not them, me. When I could hear that shrieky tone enter my voice, my kids responded with great forgiveness if I stopped and apologized for taking out frustrations on them. Sometimes a bedtime apology was called for due to a long day of grouchiness. I’m hoping they’ve picked up on this model for future relationships.

7. Nights Up – We weren’t terribly consistent with this, but I love the idea. Give each child some alone time with the parents by allowing them to stay up past bedtime once a month and choose an activity. Some things we did: bake cookies, play games, wrap Christmas presents, read a book.

8. Celebrate Spirituality – I love this tradition. We celebrate our children’s spiritual birthdays—the day they chose to follow Jesus. Each year we go out for dinner, often inviting friends. Everyone present sets a goal for spiritual growth. At each celebration, we review our old goals before we set, or reset, new ones.

9. Age and Absence – Not an idea or strategy, this point is a reality to reassure you. As the kids grow up and are not interacting daily, they learn to appreciate parents and each other. I’ve experienced the joy of maturing relationships with my own siblings, and now I get glimpses of the future of cease fire in my children’s sibling battles!

Comment Prompt: Share your parenting strategies, please.

Help Your Kids to Lose Weight

By Julie Morris –

Here’s a scary statistic: Over one-third of our children are overweight or obese. This number has tripled in the last two decades! Here are some practical ways to help them to lose weight:

When they are teens or older, don’t focus on their weight or what they eat. Instead, focus on yourself as you…
1. Eat in a healthy way and start exercising daily for 30 minutes.
2. Write down what you eat.
3. Get the junk food out of our houses (even if this is unpopular).
4. Cook in a healthy way (even if others don’t like it at first).
5. Encourage family meals almost every night—where you sit down together to eat.
6. Provide lots of green vegetables and fruits so that no one will be hungry.
7. Don’t lecture overweight kids about their weight or preach to them about healthy eating.
8. Journal your feelings and have a daily Quiet Time with the Lord. Don’t hide the fact that you do, but don’t brag about it either.
9. Invite your kids on fun activities that encourage exercise such as hikes in the woods, walks in the park, swimming, skating, golf or bowling. Do other not-so-fun things with them such as gardening, washing the car, parking far away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking briskly in the mall.
10. Pray for your children to have a desire to lose weight and make other healthy lifestyle changes. And pray that as they see you lose weight and feel better, they will want to join you.

When your overweight children are young, you have more control over them, so also do some of these things:
1. Teach them how to read labels and make healthy choices. Whether they’re eating out or at home, make a game of finding food “bargains.”
2. Teach them how to have a brief Quiet Time almost every day. If they can’t write yet, help them to draw pictures of their prayers and Bible verses. Help them also to journal their feelings by drawing pictures of things that upset them.
3. Give them non-food rewards when they do something good. Don’t reward by giving them their favorite foods, punish them by taking favorite foods away or calm them with food.
4. When having family celebrations, focus on the fun of fellowship instead of food.
5. Teach them how to cook in a healthy way, but never put them on a diet or force them to eat something they don’t like.
6. Limit their TV, computer or video-game time. One good rule (but not very popular at first) might be to allow them an hour of TV, computer or video games for each hour they spend doing sports, riding their bikes, or playing outside.
7. Don’t tell them that they can never have sugar or other junk food, but limit it. Supply yummy substitutes instead.
8. If they say that they’re hungry between meals, offer low calorie snacks; for example, small packs of raisins, fruits, baby carrots, individual packages of low-fat cheese and yogurt.
9. Never shame them for overeating, gaining weight or making unhealthy choices. Give them lots of hugs and compliments and let them know that you love them.
10. Don’t focus too much on food, diets and weight. Let healthy eating and exercise be a normal part of every day.

The difference these changes can make in your life and the lives of your children will amaze you! Place checks next to the items that you want to try and start making some changes today!

Adapted from Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! by Julie Morris and Sarah Morris Cherry.

A New Year’s Resolution Solution: It’s All in Your Head!

By Laurette Willis –

Does fitness begin by doing physical acrobatics or is it mental acrobatics that must come first? God gives us the answer in Romans 12:2 (NIV). “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

It’s what’s on your mind that counts! It’s estimated that we think about 60,000 thoughts per day at a speed of 600-800 words per minute.

Do you find your thoughts consistently running along positive paths or negative ones? When something bad happens do you think or say, “It figures. Nothing good ever happens to me.” Or do you say, “You know what? I’m not moved by this because God says in Psalm 34, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all,’ so I’m coming out of this one, too!”

Does God “tell it like it is”?

Why are people who quote God’s Word called extremists and fanatics while those who quote Murphy’s Law are considered realists who are just telling it like it is? Did you know God never told us to “tell it like it is?” In fact, if that were the way God operated, creation would not have happened.

Imagine if God had stepped out into the black void of space and said, “Hey, it sure is dark out here.” It would still be dark! God chose not to “tell it like it is.” Instead He “calls those things which do not exist as though they did”(Romans 4:17 KJV).

He used His Word and said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 NIV). And there was light. Since we’re made in the image of God and Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be “imitators of God as dear children,” doesn’t it make sense to say what God says instead of what the enemy and the world say?

Start Looking in a New Mirror

Thinking and speaking God’s words and thoughts will change you! Your faith will grow as you hear the Word of God. You will begin to see yourself in a new light with a new mirror: the Word of God. It will become easier for you to encourage and bring hope to others, for you’ll begin to know that the Lord can help them. Situations that used to baffle you will become easier to understand.

Health and fitness issues will also become easier to solve, for godly fitness is tied to what the Lord is telling you that you can and should do to take care of your body. Your health and fitness also depends on the development of the fruit of the Spirit–especially self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23)–more than any diet or exercise routine.

Look at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word today. You will LOVE the way you look..in Him!

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