Archive for May, 2013

May 28, 2013

The Power of Relationships

Daily Encounter
A Week-day Devotional by Dick Innes of ACTS International

1. The Power of Relationships

It is a well-known medical and scientific fact that life without significant relationships is not only meaningless, but very unhealthy.

In his book, The Broken Heart, James Lynch says, "Most of the people I deal with have at the root of their physical problems the problem of loneliness. They may well be living with someone, or indeed in a busy, bustling family atmosphere but they do not know what it is to experience a close relationship. The lonely are twice as likely to suffer physical problems as those who enjoy a warm relationship with at least one other person."

Dr. Bernard Steinzor in his book, The Healing Partnership, says, "The person who feels completely alone and has lost hope of a relationship will become a patient in the wards of a mental hospital or bring their life to an end through suicide."

Sydney Jourard in his book, The Transparent Self, said, "Every maladjusted person is someone who has not made himself known to another human being and in consequence he does not know himself. Nor can he be himself. More than that, he struggles actively to avoid becoming known by another human being. He works ceaselessly at it day and night. And it is work!"

Selwyn Hughes wrote, "We come to know ourselves only as we know how to relate effectively to others. A person who is known in a loving, trusting relationship by at least one other human being, is rich indeed and will have little fear about facing the world."

Hughes also wrote, "We all need to be close to someone, so never apologize for the longing that you find within you for a relationship. It was built into you by the Creator and is therefore part of a divine design." I certainly agree with Hughes in that "only in the context of relationships can the deepest longings of our being be met and satisfied."
The reality is that we not only need a right relationship with God but healthy relationships with one another. This is why open, trusting, accepting and non-judgmental groups are such a powerful entity at a time when much of life has become technical and impersonal.

Rowland Croucher, writing in Grid, said, "More than 85 percent of small group participants of all ages say that as a result of their participation they feel better about themselves, are more open and honest with themselves, are better able to forgive others, and have been helped to serve people outside the groups."

We can live successfully without having to be in a romantic relationship, but we cannot live a worthwhile life nor can we grow outside of meaningful relationships. As the Bible teaches, "It is not good to be alone." If you can’t find a small group in your church, may I suggest that you start one yourself. An effective group, however, is where people are open and honest, share their struggles and sorrows as well as their joys—and where members listen, love and accept without any kind of judgment, sermonizing, giving advice—or trying to fix people.

"The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’"1


Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find a safe group where I can be truly connected to caring and loving friends. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen."
1. Genesis 2:18 (NIV).
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May 16, 2013

Second-Day Anger

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by Steve Arterburn

"In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."Ephesians 4:26-27

By definition, anger is a temporary emotional arousal that occurs, is handled, and recedes in a matter of minutes, or at most, a few hours. Anger that’s allowed to fester and seethe for days, weeks, months, or years is very unhealthy.
Author and pastor, Calvin Miller calls anger held overnight “second-day anger.” He writes, “This tendency to nurse our anger overnight always builds to a grudge, which eats at the soul and finally rots it with cynicism. Over time, a grudge becomes poisonous bitterness.”
This type of anger accrues increased explosiveness the way an unpaid loan accrues interest. What remains until tomorrow is only bigger, worse that it was yesterday, and tougher to pay down.
There are several reasons we often opt for second-day anger. We think remaining angry when we feel violated helps us maintain a sense of control over the situation. We sometimes like to use our anger like a club to punish the person we feel is responsible for it. But many times we’re simply too proud and or lazy to identify and address it. Be committed to dealing with today’s anger today.


“Anger is one letter short of danger.”
~ Unknown

May 12, 2013

BFF

BLESSED FRIENDSHIPS FOREVER

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Tina and I attended The Mother/Daughter-Girlfriends District Luncheon hosted at our Church. It really was a beautiful time.

Friendship in Christ

Friendship with another

Friendship with our daughters

Friendship with our mothers

These are BLESSED relationships that God has orchestrated to bring us joy and comfort and love.

A sweet lady at our church named Bernita shot this picture moment. It was just after my daughter and I had sang a song called Gift of a Friend by Demi Lovato.

Sometimes you think you’ll be fine by yourself
Cause a dream is a wish that you make all alone
It’s easy to feel like you don’t need help
But it’s harder to walk on your own
You’ll change inside
When you realize

Someone who knows when you’re lost and you’re scared
There through the highs and the lows
Someone to count on
Someone who cares
Beside you wherever you go
You’ll change inside
When you realize

The world comes to life
And everything’s bight
From beginning to end
When you have a friend by your side
That helps you to find
The beauty you are when you open your heart and
Believe in
The gift of a friend

And when your hope crashes down
Shattering to the ground
You, you feel all alone
When you don’t know which way to go
And there’s no signs leading you on
You’re not alone

Every time I was practicing this song with my daughter I had thought of Tina and when she heard this song, she knew it. We had one of those OMG! I am so thankful I have you as a friend and I love you!! moments. What a blessing to have it in photo form.

May 11, 2013

"Our children are what we teach …"


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“Parenting takes place in a dynamic exchange among all members of a family. By living authentically in relation to one another, there is a sense of aliveness and joy that we do not have when we aim to teach, preach, or get others to do what we want.”
– Joseph Chilton Pearce

Compassionate Parenting Tip — Week 36

When your child tells you something that is bothering him, notice whether you have an inclination to fix, lecture, console, advise or refute what he is saying.

These are common habits. Sometimes your child may want advice or consolation. However, what children (and all people) want first of all, is to know that you "get them" just where they are. First, just hear their feelings and sense the needs behind their feelings.

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"Our children are what we teach …"

So say Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson, authors of Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids, included in theNVC Parenting Book Package. The book shows you how to create a No-Fault Zone in your home, helping you model the very behaviors you’d like to see from your kids.
Find this and other tools in the NVC Parenting Book Package.

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May 10, 2013

Thought for the Day: Life Isn’t Easy

There are some things that children should be learning
in school, but they aren’t. Not all of these lessons
have to do with academics. Here are some basic rules
that may not have found their way into the standard
curriculum. Some (perhaps all) of these should be
credited to Charles Sykes, author of "Dumbing Down Our
Kids."

Rule #1: Life is not fair. Get used to it.

Rule #2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem.
It will expect you to accomplish something before you
feel good about yourself.

Rule #3: Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out
of high school. And you won’t be a vice president. You
may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap
label.

Rule #4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’till
you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to
be a bit edgier.

Rule #5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.
Your grandparents had a different word for burger
flipping. They called it opportunity.

Rule #6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault,
so don’t whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.

Rule #7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as
boring as they are now. They got that way paying your
bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell
them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you
save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites
of your parents’ generation, try cleaning out your
bedroom.

Rule #8: In some schools they have abolished failing
grades. They’ll give you as many times as you want to
get the right answer. This, of course, bears not the
slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule #9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you
don’t get summers off. They expect you to show up every
day. For eight hours. And very few employers are
interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on
your own time.

Rule #10. Television is not real life. Your life is not
a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30
minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life,
people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to
jobs.

Rule #11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up
working for one.

Rule #12: Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a
pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But
someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a
kid. Maybe you should start now.

Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ,
Fayetteville, North Carolina. To subscribe to "Thought
For the Day," send a blank e-mail to:
join-thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org

May 8, 2013

How to Fight Fair, Part II

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
How to Fight Fair, Part II

"But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’"2

Author John Powell expressed this attitude poignantly when he said, "We defend our dishonesty [denying and not sharing our true feelings] on the grounds that it may hurt another person, and then, having rationalized our phoniness into nobility, we settle for superficial relationships."3

Fourth, in continuing our series on resolving conflict the fourth point is to use "I" messages. That is, instead of saying, "You make me mad," or "You really hurt my feelings," say words to this effect. "When you say (or do) things like thus and so, I feel hurt and/or angry, and I need to talk to you about it." This helps you take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blaming others. Many of us are like the lawyer in the Bible who, "wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’"4 This was when Jesus told him that the greatest commandment was to love God and your neighbor as yourself.

Blaming others blocks resolution. As difficult as it may be, I need to admit that nobody hurts my feelings or makes me angry without my permission. As counselor Dr. Narramore puts it, "The other person is responsible for their action. We are responsible for our reaction!"

For instance, if I had a perfect self-concept—which I don’t have—my feelings would rarely be hurt. What the other person said or did wouldn’t upset me. But if I feel inferior or have low self-esteem, I will be easily wounded and/or angered. To the degree I overreact, however, that is always my problem. The other person has simply triggered my unresolved emotions.

Overreactions happen when unresolved issues or wounds from our past are triggered. The more I have resolved my issues from the past, the less I will overreact when negative things happen to me. This isn’t to say that we won’t ever get our feelings hurt or that we shouldn’t feel angry at times, but we need to learn how to respond in the right manner … at the right time … in the right proportion to what has happened, not in proportion to our hypersensitivity.

Fifth, working with several hundred divorced people over the past decade or two, I have found that many divorcees primarily blame their former spouse for the failure of their marriage without taking a serious look at what they contributed. Conflicts can only be resolved when both parties acknowledge their contribution to the problem or misunderstanding. Yes, it is true that some people are belligerent, dogmatic, and abusive. Even the Bible implies that some people are impossible to get along with.5 But even then there is something we can do. It may be standing up for ourselves—that is, overcoming our overly passive or overly dependent, or super-sensitive style by saying to an angry, abusive person words to the effect that if they continue to treat you in this manner, you will have to distance yourself from them. And, if you make this statement, you need to stand by your words and do what you say you will do. And also assure this person that your door will always be open should they choose to stop being abusive. In these situations tough love is needed; for as long as we allow ourselves to be abused, we are a part of the problem. In every situation there is always some responsibility we can exercise.

To be concluded …

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in every conflict situation please help me to be non-defensive, quit playing the blame-game, and see how in any way I might be overreacting and use this as a motivation to grow and become a more loving, understanding and mature adult. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen."

2. Luke 10:29 (NIV).
3. John Powell, Why I Am Afraid to Tell You Who I Am, Argus Communications.
4. Luke 10:29 (NKJV).
5. Romans 12:18 (NIV).
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