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CJBAGGINS's Photo CJBAGGINS Posts: 33,383
2/1/15 11:41 P

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Some good, thought-provoking questions!

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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LIKINMENOW's Photo LIKINMENOW Posts: 51,476
1/27/15 5:29 P

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We Can Do Better

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place."
JEREMIAH 7:3

I keep asking questions like:

•Why is the divorce rate inside the Church nearly identical to the divorce rate outside the Church?

•Why do so many Christian men perform aggressively at work yet remain disengaged and passive at home?

•Why do so many Christians say their secular job is their ministry but then show so little fruit for their efforts?

•Why do Christians talk about family values while their lifestyles are virtually identical to the average non-Christian?

•Why do so few Christians possess confidence that they are on a divine mission?

•Why do less than 10 percent of all Christians regularly tell others about God's forgiveness through Christ?

•If Jesus really changes lives, why do 50 million Americans claiming to be born again have such a marginal impact on society?

The prophet Jeremiah asked similar questions about the "church" of his day. He observed that many people pursued "emptiness" (Jeremiah 2:5) out of the "stubbornness of their evil heart" (3:17), yet they didn't have the good sense even "to be ashamed" (3:3) about it. "They did not even know how to blush" (6:15). Those deceived, distracted "believers" sat comfortably in the house of God—just as they do in our generation, week after week—listening to the teaching of the Scriptures but refusing to let the truth become a matter of obedience, a manner of life.

Which of these questions do you need to deal with?

DISCUSS
Pick one of these questions—or one of your own—and think about what you could do to help your church advance a change of direction.

PRAY
Pray that "judgment" will "begin with the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17) and that we will pay attention when it does.

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LIKINMENOW's Photo LIKINMENOW Posts: 51,476
1/26/15 9:37 P

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Money Troubles

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave. PROVERBS 22:7

Larry Burkett once told me that of all the couples who divorce in America, between 85 and 90 percent would say the number one problem in their marriage is money. They are unable to agree on how to handle it, save it, spend it, give it, budget it, account for it and keep from arguing about it. In many cases, it's the heavy debt and the pressure of watching it compound ever higher—with no easy
solution for bringing it down—that causes a marriage to fall apart.

A number of years ago, I was mentoring a young married man who admitted he was carrying more than $35,000 worth of high-interest credit-card debt. He asked me what he should do about it. I responded, "The same way you'd eat an elephant—one bite at a time. But in order to keep the elephant from growing, I'd strongly encourage you to set all your cards on a cookie sheet, put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and melt them down." Easy credit is not just a mammoth monster. It's a marriage eater.

If you're in the beginning years of marriage, you need to have frequent and honest conversations about managing your money and specifically your attitude toward debt as a couple. Learn to deny immediate gratification of your wants, until you can actually afford them. Better yet, learn to resist the desire to accumulate stuff for stuff 's sake, even if you can afford it. Discuss your spending tendencies with each other. As a couple, fiercely avoid buying things on credit. Create a budget and hold each other accountable for how you manage what God has entrusted to you (see Psalm 24:1).

The bottom line? Debt kills marriages. How you manage money as a couple will have an impact on your marriage, your family and your legacy.

DISCUSS
What financial example was set before you growing up? How has that affected your attitude toward money? How are you and your spouse similar to one another? Different?

PRAY
Offer it all back to God today, to help you be disciplined in using His money His way.

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LIKINMENOW's Photo LIKINMENOW Posts: 51,476
1/22/15 9:32 A

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Shared Sacrifice

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." MARK 9:35

Serving does not come naturally in the Rainey family DNA. Selfishness does.

When our children were small, we gave them chores to teach them to serve one another. Chores included setting the table, loading the dishwasher, putting the silverware away, taking out the trash and helping sweep the floor.

Naturally, this led to some of our biggest battles with our children. Chores undone, half done, poorly done. Chores done with a crummy attitude. Chores done in anger. Children who disappeared during a chore. In fact, at one point all six disappeared at the same time! We thought the rapture had occurred!

Teaching servanthood made us feel like a failure on many occasions.

I remember one specific occasion when I felt desperate to teach our children the importance of serving others. We seated our children in chairs outside on our deck, and I filled a big bowl full of warm water, donned a towel and knelt down and washed their feet. One by one I washed their feet, sharing how the God of the Universe, the Savior of the world, did the same thing with His disciples. We wanted them to have a visual picture of Jesus' words from today's Scripture: "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Teaching servanthood in our families seems to be a lost art today. To revive it in your home, you may want to manufacture situations in which sharing and teamwork are required: family yard projects, helping each other clean rooms, sharing responsibility for household chores, and so on.

Also, designate certain items such as games or recreational equipment for multi-person use only. Obviously, these suggestions may end up creating additional conflict, but in the meantime all of this will help break down the fortresses of me-centered, arrogant selfishness in your home.

DISCUSS

How could you teach the importance of servant-hood in your family?

PRAY

Pray that you both will be models of a Christlike servant spirit.

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