Sunday, October 5, 2014
How exactly do we do this? I've often found that it's easy to think of specific actions which relate to the other nine commandments, but the fifth commandment's application is something I've sometimes thought about in general, not in relation to specific actions. How exactly do we honor our parents?
When watching movies it's often quite clear when kids dishonor their parents. Perhaps when you were in the store you overheard a conversation between a parent and their child that wasn't so great.
But what about me? Sure, I can try to avoid dishonoring my parents, yet the command, while carrying negative implications, is positive. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and I hope to present three ideas which may be of benefit to you.
Before proceeding further, it's probably important to note that I'm praise myself or put down others. Actually, for the last week I've been debating whether I'd be a hypocrite by publishing this. In the end I've decided to publish it because it might be an incentive to me to do better if I've posted it here. Also, I had this post previewed :-)
The following three things sometimes seem very small, but remember that “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10).
Sometimes they seem very big and hard. In those cases remember the encouraging verse which says: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13)
1. Be completely honest with your parents.
Proverbs 23:26 says: "My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways." Do you have things hidden from your parents? Hiding things from them hinders us from giving our hearts to them, and is a way to dishonor them. Sharing everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) with our parents is a way to bring great honor to them.
How many people love your more than anything, feed you, cloth you, desire your best, sacrifice tons for you, teach you God's word, answer any question, give you honest feedback, and simply pour unconditional love into you for two decades or so?
Not many people! Perhaps you think you'll someday have a spouse to pour your heart out to, but why not do so with your parents now? Simply ask them it they can talk. What gratitude our parents deserve! Don't hide anything from them. Keeping secrets from them will be a drain on our relationship with them. We really aren't showing who we truly are if we wont share certain things with them. Be totally open to them.
2. Honor your parents in your conversations with them.
This is probably what most of us think of when we think about honoring parents. It's very important. The Bible has so much to say about speech and communication.
Think about your words. You'll likely have much more regret over the things you say than the things you don't say. Also watch your body language.
If you have a disagreement, ask how you can bring honor to God in the situation. Make sure you tell them the truth (don't hide things) but do so in a spirit of humility, realizing that they're your parent and that you might be wrong. Ask them to explain themselves. How many times in Proverbs does Solomon write: "My son, listen..." Have open communication.
The tongue is very powerful and can bring about great honor or great dishonor.
3. Honor them behind their backs.
Sometimes things about your parents will nag you and it will seem so natural to vent your feelings to someone else. However, it is in these times we must resist the temptation to dishonor our parents.
If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all.
One of the worst things you can do to your relationship with your parent (or with anyone else) is to complain about them to someone else.
Ask yourself how your parents would feel if they could see everything you've said about them in the past twenty-four hours. How about for longer? Or shorter?
What if you think your parents don't deserve your honor?
Well, to be quite frank, our opinions are not conditionals to the command to honor our parents. You must still obey God's command to honor your parents.
All humans, including your parents, are fallen and have faults. I've been blessed with fabulous parents who seek to be obey God. What if you don't have this blessing? They are accountable to God for how they parent you. You are the one who is accountable for how you honor your parents.
Remember that in everything, including conflicts, there are instructions given to us by God in His word, the Bible. Assuming the conflict is not something that can simply be covered in love, or dealt with easily, Matthew 18 gives the way to deal with someone who sins against you. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Also, remember that it takes two to dance. In other words, look for your own faults first. We must ask ourselves how we have contributed to the problem.
My desire is that this will be a blessing to you. It's easy to think our relationships with our parents are quite good, but then maybe we realize how much we've been hiding from them. Correcting this will be a huge relief. What's one specific action you will take today to honor your parents?
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Some of the grammar and spelling has been corrected, but otherwise it's unchanged.
I start the case and find the robbers.
July 22, 10:30 AM
Hi! My name is Dexter Bennet. I am a private investigator.
Right now I’m being briefed by my boss, Mr. Moneybanks, on a bank robbery. I ought to be listening to him. Did you know that listening is a virtue? It is. I like to listen. That reminds me, I’m supposed to be listening to Mr. Moneybanks. I think it would be a good idea. I think I will!
“The bank teller said he was about 6 foot 2, had black hair, blue eyes...”
I started to panic. I had not sleepwalked in a year or so, but I did fit the description of what he described!
“He demanded the money and pointed a Glock at the teller.”
Now my palms were sweating! I always used a Glock on my assignments.
“He wore black sunglasses.”
Now I was almost shivering with fear. The color drained from my face. I thought about confessing right there and then, but I waited, just to be sure.
“You okay?” asked Mr. Moneybanks.
Honestly, I was sick to my stomach with fear. I decided to tell him the truth and hope for the best. “Well...I...umm...How do I explain?...Okay, I didn’t know what I was doing. I am sorry. I must have robbed the bank.”
“You WHAT?!” screamed Mr. Moneybanks.
How did I explain this to him? I guess I’d just try and hope for the best. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I really am. I must have robbed it in my sleep.”
“What do you mean? Why do you think you did it?”
“Well, your description fit me perfectly,” I said, beginning to worry even more.
How could he do this to me when I had just confessed? Some people would have lied about it. I was brave and now I would probably go to jail for a hundred years! “Why are you laughing at me?”
“Hahahahahahahahahaha” laughed the doubled over Mr. Moneybanks.
What was so funny? Why was he so cruel? He almost choked he was laughing so hard.
Finally he said, “Dexter, You didn’t do it! The criminal had a large drooping mustache.”
I felt the color returning back to my face. I felt redder than a tomato. Mr. Moneybanks laughed and laughed. I turned redder and redder. This case was not going so well.
After calming down somewhat, Mr. Moneybanks told me I had an interesting brain. I did not appreciate that.
“We will pay you well for this job. Just make sure you don’t arrest yourself,” he chuckled.
I didn’t get what was so funny.
“There will be a room for you in the Sunnysprings Police Station. Mr. Krackleberry is the sheriff. He will help you with anything you need.”
11:10 AM, July 22
As I drove toward Sunnysprings I reviewed the few clues we had: drooping mustache (that was most important to me), blue eyes, 6’2” tall... Wait a sec, how did I know that he was 6’2” tall? What if he was 6’2” wide? Why, we could all be looking with the wrong description!
I quickly called Mr. Moneybanks and told him about the the terrible mistake that could be made. After laughing some more he told me that nobody could be 6 feet wide and rob a bank. Then he hung up.
That was rude! The robber could be 6 feet wide and rob a bank. After all, Mr. Moneybanks was fat, and he was active. Sorta. Well, OK, maybe not 6 feet fat, but we couldn’t rule out the possibility that the robber was 6 feet wide! I would just keep my eyes open for any 6 foot fat people who were active.
12:00 AM, July 22
I walked into a restaurant in Sunnysprings. I ordered two hamburgers and sat down. I slowly scanned the restaurant looking for the bank robber. At the table next to me sat a husband and his wife. The man was about 6’2”, had a mustache, but he had blond hair and brown eyes. The woman had black hair and blue eyes.
Hmmmmm. Maybe there had been an error in Mr. Moneybank’s description of the robber. Maybe there were actually two robbers! Maybe the man was 6’2” and had a mustache while the woman had black hair and blue eyes!
There! I’d figured out who the robbers were. Wouldn’t Mr. Moneybanks be impressed!
Well, I’d have to make sure they were the robbers before I arrested them, but I couldn’t wait to tell them that the jig was up!
Lets see, I would need to be able to track them. A tracking bug would do well for that. I pulled one out of my pocket. It was the size of a nickel and had 'TRACKING BUG' printed in red on it.
Suddenly my attention was drawn to the robber’s table. They stood up and walked to the counter. I overheard him complain that they had ordered salads but had gotten hot dogs.
A waitress came and took the hot dogs off the table. The robbers said they’d be back in a minute and walked out the door.
This was my chance! I could put the tracking bug on something they would take with them. Lets see, what could I attach it to? They’d had a food crisis so maybe I could put it on some of their food. Maybe I could put it on my hamburger and put it on their table!
I shifted my eyes making sure nobody was watching, lifted the burger close to my eyes, and put the bug in it. Ah! The smell of onion was almost too hard to resist! I told myself I had to keep control, but the ketchup looked so good! Before I knew it I had taken a bite out of it!
Now what would I do? A burger with a bite taken out of it was sure to draw their attention. A tear slipped down my cheek. I had probably failed the mission before starting. Why had I taken that bite?
Wait! I had another burger! Relief flooded back into me. I took a bite of it and spit it out. I lifted the piece into the spot where I’d taken a bite of the bugged hamburger I had made, but now there was a bite mark on the burger. I patched it up with ketchup as good as I could. Maybe these people liked ketchup on top of their burgers. After all, robbers are wierdos.
The robbers’ salads came out. I quickly put the burger on their table.
After a minute of my anxious waiting, thinking that maybe they had left, they came back in. I quickly moved back to my seat.
The man sat down and looked at me. I tried to act like I was not looking at him.
“Were you sitting here?” He asked.
“Yeah. sorry, I wasn’t really thinking.”
The woman tapped her husband and pointed to the burger. I pretended not to notice.
The man made a strange face and said “Do you know what this burger is doing here?”
Oh-no! Dread gripped me. What would I answer? I quickly took a bite of the other hamburger and made a one minute sign with my finger. Hmmm. Should I tell him: I’m sorry sir, but I have to arrest you and your wife for bank robbery? No, I decided not yet. I needed more info. Should I tell him I didn’t want it and thought he would? No, it didn’t sound right.
I got it! I quickly founded an organization in my mind and said, “I’m part of an organization that give sandwiches out to the poor, the starving, and the homeless. I thought you might be poor.”
The woman stared at me in shock. I tried to keep a normal face. Her face looked so funny. I might laugh at it.
“We are the richest people in Sunnysprings!”
Well, that made sense, bank robbers had money they’d stolen.
“Why does the burger have bite marks on it?” the man asked.
Another problem! I quickly found an answer. “I want people to know what organization gave them the food, so I always take a bite out first.”
The man and woman looked at me, both with weird faces. I tried not to laugh at these dumb robbers. Hadn’t they ever heard of giving to the poor? Hadn’t they ever heard of marking the product or thing the company made or did?
“Well, we don’t want it.” said the man who’s face now looked even funnier then before.
Yet another problem. I’d have to get the bug to them some other way.
I picked up the bugged hamburger and took a bite. What was that hard thing? Suspision filled my mind. A time bomb? A poisoned coin? A knife about to spring open? What was it that the murderer had put in my burger? It was mine after all! Not his. I spit the hard thing onto the man’s plate. I didn’t want to get the bomb in my face when it exploded!
The couple glared at me and then looked at his plate. It was my bug. Depression flooded through me faster than light.
The man looked at me with an expresion demanding an explanation. “This says tracking bug on it!”
My phone rang. Whew! That was close. I quickly walked away and picked it up.
It was Mr. Moneybanks. “We found a witness to the crime who was outside the bank. She says the robber drove a black pickup. She is not sure what make or year.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I found the robbers. Yes, there as a mistake in the report I was given! There were two robbers.”
I was sure you could hear Mr. Moneybank’s yell ten blocks away. After telling me that there was only one robber, he hung up. I decided not to go back inside the restaurant.
I hope it made you laugh! If it did, post a comment saying so. If not, try reading it out loud to someone else. Read it slowly and try to imagine the story actually happening. ;-)
There have been several times that I tried to write chapter two, but could never get it to sound right.
Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart does good, like a medicine. Whether you thought my story was very dry or extremely hilarious, I think it's important to remember that while humor is good, only spiritual joy is really lasting. Other joys can fade away, but the joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit will stay even while going through tough times. (BTW, I'm doing very well right now :D Praise be to God!)
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
You have questions. I have questions. So what's the answer? This isn't just a blog to discourage us, right?
In answer to the last question, no, I'm not just musing about a problem without mentioning a solution.
Before I tell you the solution though, please don't just dismiss it. Investigate it. Think about it. Test it out.
All the questions we need answers for are found in the word of God, the Bible. He has provided the solution.
2 Timothy 3:16-17:
Man's work faileth, Christ's availeth. Since that's such a nice hymn I'll copy the rest here:
God is just and merciful, and He has provided the answers.
If you don't know much about Christianity or the Bible I encourage you to get in contact with vibrant Christians who can help you.
If you are a Christian, please make sure you are consistent and follow the Bible in everything.
God's word is all we need. Get rid of autonomy. Obey Him and He guarantees that He will bless you.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
This is very simple, yet so comprehensive. I knew about this verse earlier, but was greatly impacted by it this week. God's word really is powerful!
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I switched back because Word Press allows more flexibility in design, but I don't use it. Blogger is free and it is much easier to keep track of other people's blogs with it.
In the future I hope to keep active in the blogging world.
Edit: Despite setting the publishing dates in the past, all the posts I just moved here are showing up in my reading list. Sorry about this.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Yesterday and today I was thinking about this blog post. I planned to review my goals from the beginning of 2014 and plan for the remainder of it. And then it hit me! 5 minutes before writing this the realization came that 2014 is not halfway done. So it looks as if I just gained a whole month! :D To see what I published a little after the start of this year, click here, or simply scroll down two posts. The last few days have been the most painful of my life, but I've also experienced some of the greatest blessings and fastest growth I have ever had. It's a good time to reflect on life, priorities, and plans. Thanks God! To anyone going through hard times I recommend 3 things:
- Use the pressure to propel yourself closer to God. Obey, praise, and trust Him no matter how hard. This is not easy to do, but I'm 100% confident that God will reward you if you do.
- Talk to other believers. The other day I was really struggling. It felt like the world was some type of sick matrix experiment seeing how much I could take. However, after talking to a pastor I was resolved to do my duty and trust God. The body of Christ is very important and lately my appreciation for it has grown hugely (a blessing from hard times)
- Don't brace. Relax in God. He is sovereign (this has been brought out numerous times recently). Bracing is a natural reaction to bad situations, but it doesn't help. Last week (after some peer pressure ;-) ) I went on my first upside down roller coaster. Later I rode on a wooden coaster that was quite bumpy. I discovered that when relaxed it was much more enjoyable for me than when I was tense. The same is true in life. Worrying about the future wont help anything. In fact, it's commanded against in scripture (Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 6:25-34). Trust God!
- Grow closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has drawn me much closer to Him. May He give me grace to always respond when He calls out to me.
- Quickly bounce back from any and all setbacks. Pride is something I have to watch out for when saying this, but I honestly think this is an area I've shown strength in. All glory to God! :)
- Be more self-controlled, especially in following schedules and resolutions of mine. I've grown a ton in this area, but still have a lot of room to grow.
- Do very well in the last few months of high school. I'm very thankful that this year of school has been my favorite. Last week I thought I had 3 more weeks before finishing, and I still think this, but we'll see how it goes. Man makes plans. God controls.
- Seek God’s direction for my life after high school. For sure I need to continue to do this. He's blessed me, but I think I need to devote more time to this.
- Have more faith and trust in God. Right now my faith is at a high. It's critical to make sure it stays that way.
- Take action on things I believe. When I copied this I first thought along the lines of 'I've been quite busy with school, so you know, yeah...' but that would kind of be a lame excuse. Another area to keep working on!
- Give more of my time, energy, and money to God’s kingdom. I have given more than before, but I can improve. My default for when I have free time has often been to go towards chess or computer games, but my priorities were wrong. There is nothing wrong with those things, but the Christian's focus must be God's kingdom. I especially feel compassion for those who cannot help themselves, so that is probably where I'll try to give my time/money.
- Be financially well off by the end of the year. Hehe.. :P Not quite. I do think it's a legitimate excuse that most of my time has been occupied by school. Finances are something I've studied, and I'm quite confident that I can do well, but the main thing is I must take action!
- Grow more mature. I want to progress in life. The thing important to realize is that it's today where you grow, not tomorrow or next year. I'm 18 and I need to be ready for the rest of my life. Though all of life is learning, the primary training grounds are almost up. Thankfully I've been blessed with spectacular parents, so I have something of a head start.
- Be more joyful. :D Right now is the perfect opportunity to practice.
- Be more patient. Waiting for big things is sometimes hard for me, sometimes not, but it often gets to me to have to wait for small things if I don't see why there is the need to wait. Kind of silly :P
- Stay active; not get passive. Especially when life is easy and God's blessings are the only thing coming my way. Do I want to have it that the only way for God to make me move is bring troubles my way? No! I'd much rather force myself to get out of and expand my comfort zone even when life seems easy.
- Keep and grow vibrant relationships with friends and family. Material things and fun are gifts of God, but you cannot take your stuff to with you through death (though you can store up treasures in Heaven). You can, however, build relationships with God and people that will last forever. I need to make sure I am consistent in taking time to read God's word and pray. People are also important, much more important than any thing. I need to make sure I show this in my relationships with people.
Monday, March 3, 2014
I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am at your command.
Half of the tasks that you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will to them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed,
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly what you want done; after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people and alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great I have made great,
those who are failures I have made failures.
I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.
Now you may run me for profit or
you may run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me,
and I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am called habit.
Assuming it takes 3 seconds to pick up a penny (and you don't suffer physically from doing so), you would make $12.00 in an hour by picking up pennies. Picking up nickels gives you $60/hour! Time to start a new habit? ;-)
Monday, January 13, 2014
- Grow closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
- Quickly bounce back from any and all setbacks
- Be more self-controlled, especially in following schedules and resolutions of mine
- Do very well in the last few months of high school
- Seek God's direction for my life after high school
- Have more faith and trust in God
- Take action on things I believe
- Give more of my time, energy, and money to God's kingdom
- Be financially well off by the end of the year