Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Contact Prayers

"Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV).

One of my favorite portions of the worship services in the Contact Church of Christ involves the prayer time. Usually one of our ministers will ask the congregation for prayer requests and reasons for praise. A number of our members will raise their hands to share something good that God has done in their lives or to ask for prayers.

This week, the praise reports included:

~a family who thanked God that their daughter was recovering from her second surgery in a month

~two women who praised God that their medical tests revealed no indications of cancer

~a family who was grateful for transportation

The prayer requests included:

~comfort for the family and friends of a girl who had committed suicide (some of the Contact kids attended school with her)

~healing for a young man who had been shot in the face

~the return of a dog that has been missing from home for a few days

~comfort for the family and friends of a boy who had overdosed on drugs

Whenever we share our concerns and our praise, I believe a bond develops among us. We grow closer. We get to see God work among us. And God is honored.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Trustworthy God

"Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:10, NIV).

From Abraham to Cornelius to us, has the LORD ever forsaken a believer who was seeking him? The believer's security is in the character of the trustworthy God.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Convergence of the Civil Rights and Pro-Life Movements

Today, I am sharing a few links about the civil rights movement, the pro-life movement, and ways that my readers may help save a few babies' lives.

John Ensor makes the case that African Americans and Hispanics need to take leading roles in the pro-life movement in order for the movement to reach a tipping point in making social and legal progress at http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2008/2578_Pray_for_the_Third_Wave/.

Alveda King, a niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is a leading pro-life advocate in the black community. You may read about her activities and message on numerous web sites (including http://www.texlife.org/docs/niece.shtml) by doing a search of the Internet.

If you would like to help a pro-life ministry, please check out the Contact Life ministry of the Contact Church of Christ (our home congregation) at http://www.contactchurch.net/contact_life or Christian Services of Oklahoma (our adoption agency) at http://www.christian-adoption.org.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Enjoying Life to the Glory of God

"I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live" (Ecclesiastes 3:12, NIV).

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:9-11, NIV).

Rubel Shelly has a good piece at http://www.rubelshelly.com/content.asp?CID=19803 about enjoying life to the glory of God.

Speaking of enjoying life, my wife Janet has written a short post on her blog about our 5-year old son Christopher leading a song at the Contact Church last Sunday morning. It may be read at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-CLo4pSAlcaXgi2dhLKNo?p=84. I'm not sure that anyone enjoys life more than our son.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Few Good Articles to Share

I have a few good articles to share about Martin Luther King Jr. and the pro-life perspective.

Our Daily Bread has a good devotional piece about a turning point in Dr. King's life at http://www.rbc.org/odb/odb-01-21-08.shtml.

The Christian Chronicle has an interesting interview with Fred Gray, the attorney for Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, at http://www.christianchronicle.org/article901~A_Conversation_with_Fred_Gray.

The Lookout magazine has three powerful pro-life articles at

I hope you had a great Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr., Roe v. Wade, and My Son's Birthday

This week, we honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, mourn the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and celebrate my son Christopher's 5th birthday.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, please read Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail at http://members.aol.com/klove01/jailltr.htm.

In recognition of Roe v. Wade's anniversary, please read "Finding Forgiveness After an Abortion" at http://www.familylife.com/articles/article_detail.asp?id=1205.

In celebration of Christopher's birthday, please read my letter to him on his birthday last year at http://adisciplesthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/01/happy-birthday-christopher.html.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Doing It All for the Glory of God

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV).

During his sermon last Sunday at the Contact Church of Christ, Ron Babbit asked the congregation, "What is the purpose of the church?" Several answers came from us. "Sharing." "Helping people get to heaven." "Helping each other." Those are good answers, but someone gave the best answer: "To give glory to God." I do not know who called out that answer, but it was just what Ron was listening for, and it led to a great sermon about giving glory to God.

Since Ron's sermon, I have been asking myself, "How can I give glory to God? How can I make him look as good as he is? How can I show people how kind and just he is? How can I demonstrate how powerful he is?" I don't have a complete set of answers to my questions, but here are a few of the thoughts that have come to me:

*I can be thankful to God (even for little things like what I eat or drink).
*I can pray to God. When he answers, I can give him all the credit.
*I can trust God when circumstances should make me anxious instead.
*I can put in a good word for Jesus in everyday conversations.
*I can be kind because of the way God has shown kindness to me.
*I can admit my sins and failures as I rely on the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ to make things right between me and God.
*I can read the Bible, acknowledging my need for God's wisdom.
*I can take the time to help someone who needs help, recognizing an opportunity to be used by God to bless another's life.

I would like to be able to give God all the glory without drawing any attention to myself, but I do not know how to do it in most situations. In most of my examples, some of the glory could be deflected to me very easily. However, I must not let it stop me from attempting to give God the glory in my life.

Do you have some ideas about how you could give God the glory in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Life Well Lived

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God!" (Micah 6:8, NASB)

I just finished reading A Life Well Lived: Discover the Rewards of an Obedient Heart by Chuck Swindoll, a book about Micah 6:8 (my favorite Bible verse). Janet gave it to me for Christmas. These are a few excerpts:

"What honors the Lord is a heart that beats in the same rhythm as His, a spirit that values the same qualities that define Him. He wants people who do what is right, who love kindness, and who walk humbly with Him. Do as Micah instructs, and you will not only honor the Lord you love, you will live life well" (p. 10).

"The quality of justice is the consistent, unwavering decision to do what is right. And when you choose to do what is right, you can walk and speak with complete confidence. Your thoughts and actions proceed from a clear understanding of truth. Though perhaps misunderstood, maligned, or even persecuted, you can walk with steadfast peace, knowing that the Lord understands and rewards those who remain faithful" (p.19).

"Let God reveal to you what is right from His Word. Read your Bible, not to discover what hurdles you must clear or what hoops you need to jump through in order to make the Lord happy, but to become increasingly intimate with His character. Set aside the newspaper and magazines, turn off the television, cancel some appointments, and make time to get into God's inspired, reliable Word. Discover timeless facts and principles directly from the Author of truth. Allow the reading of Scripture to prompt new perspectives and trigger new insights" (p. 28)

"Trust the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to lead you toward what is right. As the Holy Spirit does His work of gradual transformation, listen to your inner convictions. They are not the voice of God. They are the thoughts of a mind changed to think like the Lord Himself. Your old character and values will be exchanged for the Lord's so that you begin to think with the mind of Christ" (p.29).

"You may lose popularity. You might be denied opportunities you rightfully deserve. You might be persecuted for taking a stand for truth, or for defending the innocent, or for refusing to look the other way while others do wrong. Don't expect to be rewarded. Expect resistance. That doesn't mean you should become discouraged or timid, but don't be surprised when (not if) you face difficulties as a result of doing what is right" (p.30).

"Ours is an age in which the most coveted commodity is not gold but time. All too quickly we forgo the opportunity to be kind in order to gain a few extra minutes. And we typically don't even realize that we've made that exchange. I can tell you from my own experience it's a poor trade. I know that whenever I begin to treat people as obstacles in my path or use them as merely a means to getting things done, I become a smaller man. With each brusque comment, each dismissive glance, each curt reply, I lose a little more of myself. To make matters worse, my relationship with God suffers.
"When you and I find ourselves exchanging kindness for a few extra minutes, we're too busy. This is not the only reason for lack of kindness, but it's certainly one of the most common" (p. 35).

"Kindness takes time, yet we're usually in a rush. Kindness requires us to empathize with others, yet we are by nature self-centered. Kindness calls for compassion, yet judgment typically comes more naturally. Kindness demands a forgiving attitude, yet we find revenge more appealing" (p.36).

"Within each one of us a battle rages between the ugly sin of pride and the rare virtue of humility, the desire for status versus the longing for Christlikeness. It's a war we like to keep private. We rarely acknowledge it, we are reluctant to reveal it, and we secretly wonder if our own heart is the only one torn by this great conflict. Let me assure you, every heart is a battlefield. The fighting only subsides when the heart stops beating" (p. 62).

"The invitation to walk with God is an invitation to humility. It's an invitation to rest from the struggle to look like you've got it all together. It's an invitation to lay aside the burden of always having to be right. This is an invitation to be who you are---warts and all---without excuse, or apology, or feeling like you have to live up to someone's standard in order to be loved or respected. It's an invitation to cease the futile struggle to earn respectability and to enter God's rest" (pp. 62-63).

"Humility welcomes criticism and willingly accepts responsibility for moral faults and human flaws. It seeks to learn from accusations, even unjust ones. Humility responds to failure with a sincere desire to grow, and sees itself as perpetually needy of divine forgiveness and empowerment" (p.75).

"To quote a Yiddish proverb, 'If one man calls you an ass, pay him no mind. If two men call you an ass, go buy a saddle'" (p. 80).

"Day after day, year after year, the one who commits himself or herself to the pursuit of justice, kindness, and humility will most certainly develop strong character...When we doggedly do what is right, when we generously give kindness, and when we remain intimate with God, our conscience remains free of any nagging emotional aches. A clear conscience gives relief, relief grants freedom, freedom inspires joy, and joy bears the fruit of a robust sense of humor" (p. 98).

"Those who fret over their legacy have revealed themselves to be shallow, superficial people. When we do what is right, love kindness, and stay close to God, the natural product will be a lingering legacy by which anybody would want to be remembered. Live well now and you will continue to live well in the memories of the people you value" (pp. 100-101).

Chuck Swindoll's new book is worth buying. It is small (only 106 pages), but packed with good information.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pro-Life Progress in Hollywood

"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous---how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:14-16, NLT).

World Magazine contains an excellent article about a shift in Hollywood concerning abortion and the pro-life perspective (see http://www.worldmag.com/articles/13634?CFID=4524769&CFTOKEN=99698648). While some movies and television shows are embracing pro-life ethics, others are respecting the pro-life position while not entirely embracing it. This is a major change. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to respect pro-life values.

One reason for the positive changes: the pro-life position has come to be seen as heroic and sexy. As the article states, "Abortion is not only unarguably un-sexy, but also un-heroic. And without sex and heroes, Hollywood would have few bankable stories to tell...'To make a movie on abortion is just not sexy,' Gonzales said. 'To hear Meg Ryan, for example, say at a party, 'Oh, I really want to do this abortion movie'---people would just kind of shriek inside. They kind of shudder.'" Selfish choices do not make heroes. Without heroes, an audience finds it difficult to bond with movie characters. We like heroes.

Many of the movies center on heroines who choose life for their pre-born children. This is totally appropriate. Our son Christopher's birthmother is a heroine. We should admire such women.

Another reason for the positive changes: a new generation has arisen. The younger generation of filmmakers has seen its siblings aborted and it is not sympathetic. The article continues,

"At a Feminists for Life event at UCLA, keynote speaker and actress Patricia Heaton asked the crowd of about 100 how many were pro-life and how many were pro-choice. A show of hands revealed a mixed group, but heavy on pro-life views. Heaton then asked a pro-life member of the audience to explain why she held that view.

"'I don't want to judge my parents because they did what was right for them,' said one young woman. 'But I've grown up knowing that they aborted two of my siblings. I've grown up my whole life wondering if they were glad they kept me'...'Gen-X and Millennial filmmakers understand that an abortion most often means mom just didn't want to be inconvenienced, in the same way she just didn't want to stay married to dad'."

It's good to see the changes in Hollywood.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19, NIV).

In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Day (http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/110/sc/sc40.pdf), I would like to share the following information from an e-mail from Shared Hope International:

*Human trafficking is 'modern day slavery' and women and children are trafficked in nearly every country---even in the United States.

*The marketplace for sex trafficking works like a shopping mall, and when demand exceeds supply, traffickers will manipulate, coerce, and force victims to meet demand. The only way to stop sex trafficking is to end demand. Learn more at http://www.enddemand.org/.

*The average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12 years old. These are innocent children who need our protection. Join the Defenders today! Learn more at http://www.thedefendersusa.org/.

*Shared Hope International is actively combating sex trafficking by rescuing and restoring women across the globe. To learn more visit us at http://www.sharedhope.org/.

I am also aware of the work of the International Justice Mission (http://www.ijm.org/), which works around the world to end slavery. These organizations are working hard to help the oppressed gain freedom around the world.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Peacemaking for Families: Conflict in Marriage

These are my notes for my Bible class at the Contact Church of Christ for this Sunday:

*Conflict is simply a reality in life and in marriage. We do not always agree with our spouses. Sometimes our conflicts are minor disagreements; sometimes they are major disputes. In either case, Christ calls for his followers to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). In this lesson, we will explore our responses to conflict: escape responses, attack responses, and peacemaking responses.

*Escape responses are favored by peacefakers.

~We use escape responses to avoid rather than resolve conflict. "Escape responses are generally directed inward; they are usually all about 'me.' Escapers are looking for what is easy, convenient, or nonthreatening for themselves. They often dread confrontation. They are often more concerned about appearances than reality" (Ken Sande and Tom Raabe, Peacemaking for Families, p. 8).

~Denial is the usual escape response. We act like a problem does not exist. However, the problem usually gets worse.

~When denial does not work, we move to flight as an escape response. We may quit a job, find another church, or file for divorce to escape conflict. This usually does nothing to resolve conflict. However, in cases of extreme abuse, this response may be needed for protection. (For example, if your husband is sexually abusing your child, fleeing from him with the child would be a loving response intended to protect your child.)

~Suicide is the ultimate escape response. Obviously, this never makes peace or resolves conflict.

*Attack responses are favored by peacebreakers.

~"These responses are employed by those more interested in winning a fight than preserving a relationship. Conflict for these folks is an opportunity to assert rights, to control others, or to take advantage of their situation" (Peacemaking for Families, p. 9). Both the strong and the weak, the confident and the insecure, will use these responses to get what they want at the expense of harmonious relationships. Unlike peacefakers who see themselves as the problem, peacebreakers see you as the problem.

~Assault is the common attack response. Nagging, slander, threats, and other forms of verbal assault are typical. Sometimes physical violence is involved. These responses increase conflict in marriage. They do not resolve it.

~Litigation is another attack response. It could be over divorce, custody of children, or other matters. It does not bring healing to relationships in conflict.

~Murder is the most extreme form of an attack response. Obviously, this does not bring peace either. (See Matthew 5:21-22 for Jesus' warning about our murderous thoughts and words.)

*The way of Christ is peacemaking responses in our marriages.

~"This way is not about 'me,' as escaping is, nor about 'you,' as attacking is, but about 'us.' Rather than giving in to 'peacefaking' or 'peacebreaking,' this way is all about 'peacemaking'" (Peacemaking for Families, p. 10).

~Minor conflicts may be resolved by determining to overlook an offense and offer forgiveness (Proverbs 12:16; 17:14; 19:11).

~When more significant conflicts arise, discussion is the appropriate response (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15). Confess when you have been wrong. Confront with love.

~When a conflict involves money, property, or other rights, negotiation is appropriate. We need to see the needs of both sides and reach a satisfactory agreement (Philippians 2:4).

~Sometimes a peacemaking response requires assistance from other wise Christians. This takes both humility and courage. "First, you may seek individual counseling from a spiritually mature advisor who may be able to help you see ways that you can communicate more effectively with your spouse and still resolve your differences in private (Proverbs 13:10). Second, you and your spouse may seek joint counseling or mediation, which involves meeting together with one or more counselors who assist you in communicating and finding meaningful solutions to your differences (Matthew 18:16). Third, if your spouse won't respond to counseling and persists in sinful behavior that threatens your marriage, you may appeal to your church to exercise redemptive church discipline to promote repentance and restore your relationship (Matthew 18:17)" (Peacemaking for Families, p. 11).

*Using peacemaking responses to conflict, we can enjoy healthier, more stable, more secure, and more intimate marriages.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Let Justice Roll

"But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream" (Amos 5:24, NIV).

Bob and Sarah Logsdon share a story about one of our families in the Contact Church of Christ as they were trying to purchase a used car that they had saved for quite some time to buy. My emotions swing from grief to anger for them. Please read their story at http://urbanlogfamily.blogspot.com/2008/01/buying-car-in-hood.html.

On another note (but still dealing with injustice in our world), please scroll down to my post on January 6 about the ethnic violence in Kenya. Erik Tryggestad has updated his report for the Christian Chronicle. You may read the updated report using the same link that I placed on my blog on Sunday. Kenya needs our prayers and the churches need our help. Please keep praying for the people of Kenya.

LOST Links

If you are a fan of the television series LOST, you will want to read John Dobb's posts about the show. He offers some great insights. These are the links:







My favorite posts were "The Faith of Rose," "Fatherhood," and "The Importance of Nobody."

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I have become concerned about the growing anti-immigrant attitude that I hear on talk radio programs, read in letters to the editor in newspapers, and see among some people. These Scriptures are rarely heard, but the Bible is full of similar statements that we should hear:

"For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:17-19, NIV).

"At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands" (Deuteronomy 14:28-29, NIV). These verses refer to a little-known tax upon the Israelites that was collected every 3 years to care for the Levites and the poor (including aliens or immigrants). It was an early Israelite welfare program.

"Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge" (Deuteronomy 24:17, NIV).

"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this" (Deuteronomy 24:19-22, NIV). This provision in the Law of Moses provided an opportunity for the poor and powerless (including immigrants) to get enough to survive if they would work for it. The law also discouraged greed and hoarding by the wealthy members of society. The famous immigrant Ruth used this provision to survive when she arrived in Israel (Ruth 2:1-12).

"'Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.'
Then all the people shall say, 'Amen!'" (Deuteronomy 27:19, NIV).

"The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked" (Psalm 146:9, NIV).

"If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever" (Jeremiah 7:5-7, NIV).

"This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place" (Jeremiah 22:3, NIV).

"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other'" (Zechariah 7:9-10, NIV).

"'So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,' says the LORD Almighty" (Malachi 3:5, NIV).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ethnic Violence in Kenya

Since its presidential election a few days ago, Kenya has been in turmoil. Ethnic violence has been compared to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. People are losing their lives because they belong to the "wrong" ethnic group.

The Christian Chronicle has an online story about the violence. I am proud of the members of the Churches of Christ who are risking their lives to protect fellow citizens from the violence, despite ethnic differences. However, we need to pray for the peace of Kenya. The situation could get worse before it gets better. Please pray for Kenya.

The report may be read at http://www.christianchronicle.org/article887~Kenyan_church_members_injured,_displaced_after_post-election_violence

Peacemaking for Families: Introduction

Tomorrow, I plan to start teaching a class at the Contact Church based on the book Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande and Tom Raabe. While Janet and I were attending FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember marriage seminar last spring, we bought the book (along with several other books focusing on family issues and biblical principles). These are my notes for the class:

*Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah referred to him at the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The early American revival preacher Barton W. Stone wrote, "Christ is the Prince of Peace; the Church of Christ is the Kingdom of Peace." Jesus Christ promised, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9, NIV). The apostle Paul noted that one product of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is peace (Galatians 5:22).

*In this Bible class, we will be focusing on making peace in our families. However, much of the material may be applied to other areas of our lives.

*The word peace is a relational term. It centers on our relationships with each other. We are living in peace when we are living in harmony...when our relationships are wholesome.

*Sometimes peace may be impossible. After all, some people may not want to be at peace with us no matter how much we may want it or how well we apply the principles of peacemaking that we plan to learn over the next several sessions. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18, NIV).

*In Peacemaking for Families, Ken Sande and Tom Raabe state, "There are three ways we can handle conflicts in normal family life. We can be peace-fakers, denying that we have problems, always giving in, or becoming distant from family members. We can be peace-breakers, relying on manipulation, a sharp tongue, or overt anger to compel others to give in to our wishes...Our third option is to use the conflicts of family life to become peacemakers, drawing on God's grace and practicing the powerful peacemaking principles He has given to us in His Word" (preface).

*Depending on our temperament and background, we are likely to gravitate toward either peace-faking or peace-breaking. We will tend to be either passive in response to conflict or aggressive in causing conflict or a combination of both. Peacemaking does not come naturally; but it can come supernaturally as we become open to learning and applying the biblical principles taught by Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles.

*Our goal is to become peacemakers in our families. We want to be able to live in harmony with our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents, our in-laws, and our other extended family members as much as possible.

*We will spend several weeks exploring the principles of peacemaking in our families.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Resolutions 2008

With God's help, I intend to follow through with these resolutions for 2008:

1. I plan to read through the Bible. I will be using the daily reading plan from RBC Ministries (which can be found at the bottom of the Our Daily Bread devotional article each day at http://www.rbc.org) and the New International Version as my text.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV).

2. I plan to spend several minutes each day praying for my family, friends, co-workers, the church, various ministries, and leaders of the government. Praying for others helps prevent me from being self-absorbed, helps me to care more about others, helps the people I'm praying for as God answers my prayers for them, and brings glory to God who is able to do what I can merely ask to be done.

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone---for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV).

3. Janet and I plan to sponsor a child living in poverty somewhere in the world through the Christian Relief Fund (http://www.christianrelieffund.org/). While far from rich by American standards, we recognize that we are rich by global standards. We feel compelled to help a child in need.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).

Please read Rubel Shelly's "New Year's Prayer" at http://www.heartlight.org/articles/200801/20080101_newyearsprayer.html for a great article to start your new year. Happy New Year!