Category Archives: Links

A Father’s Love

Today we celebrate a father’s love. They say a child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father. What an important role!

No father is perfect, but God gives us guidance through his character and his Word showing us what all fathers should aspire to.

A father’s love provides – God provides everything we need. (2 Peter 1:3) He sets the bar high for fathers to provide for their family’s needs.

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 NIV

A father’s love protects – Father’s rise up with courage to protect their children. Love protects. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

A father’s love teaches – Father’s share their wisdom and knowledge. They lead by example knowing their actions speak louder than words.

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Proverbs 4:1-5 NIV

A father’s love embraces – Loving touch speaks volumes to a child. It offers psychological, physical and emotional benefits. Father’s embrace with their arms and with words of blessing

A father’s love is present – Fathers shows up, fully engaged in the moment.  They set aside distractions and take time to offer their full attention

A father’s love leaves a legacy – Fathers have the privilege of planting seeds of faith into the hearts of their children.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 NLT

For all you do Dads, we honor you!

Take a moment this week to honor your father. Honor him but put your faith and trust in the Father God. Every earthly father will make mistakes but God’s love never fails.

Reconciling Relationships

Relationships can be a challenge. We all have issues. What makes things spiral out of control and how do we go about reconciling relationships?

Family and friends make life fun. Relationships bring joy and productivity, but there is some fine print. There are some hidden fees and a lot of – how shall we say it? – poop.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. Proverbs 14:4 NIV

Conflict happens in every relationship. What causes relationships to go sideways?

Unrealistic expectations – Sometimes people enter into relationships with the hope of finding a savior – someone to meet their every need. Unrealistic expectations suffocate the life out of a relationship. Jesus is the only one who can save.

Drift – If we take our relationships for granted, we get carried away by the current and we drift apart. Drift is the opposite of savior syndrome. Sometimes relationships are destroyed not by what we do, but what we don’t do.

Unforgiveness – We are all flawed individuals. We all make mistakes. Unforgiveness keeps us stuck in the pain of our imperfection. Without forgiveness we never move forward.

Healing broken relationships is what Christianity is all about. Reconciliation is the byproduct of love and love is the highest value in the kingdom of God. The Bible offers us a clear pathway for reconciling relationships.

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Matthew 18:15 NIV

Go – It’s not always easy to go. It’s risky. You may have to press through some fear, but love goes.

In private – It’s not easy to keep conflict between the two of you. Be aware of polluting other people’s minds with the temporary toxicity of your conflict.

Seek to reconcile – When you go, in private, with a heart to reconcile the relationship you’ll be able to restore and reestablish the majority of your relationships. All relationships have Matthew 18:15 moments. There is too much at stake to just walk away.

 

Click here for Part 1 of the Links Series – What does God look for in a mom?
Part 2  Love is…
Part 3 Love is…continued
and for expert advise on relationships read An interview with Kitty Kok

Love is…continued

“Now love, love don’t come easy.”  Phil Collins got it right. The kind of love that sustains healthy relationships doesn’t come easy. There are skills we have to develop. What is love? We’re glad you asked.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… I Corinthians 13:4-8

These are the characteristics of love. We broke the first half of this passage down into four skills a few weeks ago. Click here to read. This week we’ll explore a second set of skills.

5. The skill of being secure – Love is not easily angered, easily wounded or easily offended. It is not thin skinned. When we are secure in the revelation of how much we are loved by God we can have thicker skin in all our relationships.

6. The skill of empathy – Empathy is entering into someone else’s world, tapping into what they feel and truly valuing their experience. It is one of the most important relational skills you can possess. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about validation.

Validation is the art of affirming another person by actively accepting that person as he or she is in the moment and communicating that acceptance to them.

7. The skill of defense – Love does not delight in sharing juicy gossip. Love lifts up a shield and protects others from the arrows life hurls their direction.

8. The skill of relational optimism – It’s hard to build relationships when everything you see is clouded in doubt and pessimism Relationship builders tap into the promises of God. They trust and hope for brighter tomorrows.

9. The skill of endurance – We need to develop a long-term approach to love. The God-kind of love sees the potential in messed up people and holds on for the long haul. Perseverance and tenacity will mature into the kind of love that never fails.

Healthy relationships don’t come easy. They are the fruit of diligent work and skill development. Fruit like that takes time to mature but when it ripens, it is so very sweet.

Love is…

We need information, inspiration, application and direction in order to build and sustain healthy relationships. Love lays the foundation for the kind of relationships that double the joy and cut the burdens in half. God’s Word tells us exactly what love is.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

These are the characteristics of love and they are skills we can develop.

  1. The Skill of Patience  – Patient people feel the same amount of irritation the rest of us do, but in the emotionally charged moments they make different choices. They pause and remind themselves of how valuable people are.
  2. The Skill of Kindness – Those who have developed the skill of kindness act with mercy and tenderness toward others. They love, not just with words, but with actions. (I John 3:18) They scroll through the available options and find the manifestation of love that will have the deepest meaning.
  3.  The Skill of Contentment – Envy is an inky black relational poison.  It pollutes our perspective of others. People develop the skill of contentment by seeing what they have through the lens of gratitude. They recognize everything they have is a gift they don’t deserve. Gratitude frees them to love anyone, no matter their status or their stuff.
  4. The Skill of Humility – Arrogance repelled others. It creates relational canyons. Those who have the skill of humility are self-aware. They know who they are and who they are not.

Jesus told us the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy but he came so that we would have abundant life.  (John 10:10) Both of these scenarios play out in the context of our relationships. The enemy sends relationships that tear us down. He slips in and distorts the very relationships that should be enriching our lives.  Jesus sends relationships that build us up. When we develop the skills of love, our relationships will flourish.

What Does God Look for In A Mom?

One of the most astonishing truths of the Bible is that God became a man. Surely, as God he could have just appeared on the planet. Poof!  But he didn’t. He left unbounded divinity to be born of a woman, to have a mom. Mary was chosen by God to carry his son Jesus and to be his mother on earth. So what does God look for in a mom”

  1. A heart for God – God knew he could trust Mary to mother the Savior of the World because he saw a heart that was fully surrendered to him. Parenting is best served with a heart of surrender to God’s will and his ways.

 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”  Luke 1:38 NTL

2.  A heart of encouragement – Mary believed in Jesus. He performed his first public miracle at the encouragement of his mother. John 2:1-12 Never underestimate the power of a mother’s encouragement. Children learn their great value and worth through the way their mother sees them.

3.  A heart for others  – Women reflect the feminine heart of God. One of the things mom’s do best is LOVE.  Moms give their hearts to love deeply, gently, freely and powerfully in any circumstance with complete abandon and sacrifice.

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.” Napoleon Bonaparte

4.  A heart for family – Mary loved her son. Jesus loved his mother.  The love they shared was displayed at the foot of the cross.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27 NLT

God thinks a lot of mothers. He chose to have one. Motherhood is a high calling and worth doing well. Pursue God with all your heart. Be your children’s biggest cheerleader. Love others and love your family with abandon.