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How to Encourage Loving Tones in Your Home

 

“You’re being a clanging cymbal.”

This is our new family phrase.

As part of the research for my free Guide to a Vibrant Family Faith, I challenged our family to try verse mapping together. When you “map” a verse, you define words simply, circle words and phrases that stand out to you, and personalize the verse by crossing out any pronouns and adding your name.

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Sometimes it’s the Forgetting

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.

-Psalm 130:3-4 (The Message)

 

Have you ever forgiven someone, but then had a hard time forgetting the pain?

I was reminded lately (by a Joyce Meyer devotional) that there are two hurtful situations that I’m having trouble forgetting. One particular situation will never be repeated, and so that person won’t have the chance to hurt me in the same way. I’m pretty far down the path toward forgiving and forgetting. The other person, though, could and quite possibly will hurt me again in exactly that way.

How do we guard our hearts without hurting our relationships?

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Perspective From the Cross

Read it! John 19

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(vs26&27)

Think it through

I can’t read through the Gospel of John, thinking about perspectives, without pondering Jesus’ perspective from the cross.

He looked down. He saw his mother, his disciples, his friends, and his loved ones. He cared for them. He saw his killers, and he asked God for their forgiveness.

He looked to either side. He saw two criminals. He encouraged the one who would let him: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

He looked up. He talked to His Father, who I believe heard and loved his son despite the separation brought on by burden of sin he bore.   Then he surrendered his spirit into the Father’s hands.

And through it all, he had the perspective of heaven. Even though he was experiencing things beyond my imagining, he knew the people perpetrating it had no power over him (verse 11). He knew that everything had now been finished so that the scriptures would be fulfilled (verse 28).

He knew that God would win in the end.

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The Inside Scoop!

Read it! John 4 

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could he be the Messiah?”

(vs29)

Think it through

John tells us that the woman at the well was there at noon. No one else was getting water when the day was at its hottest. John might as well have said, “This woman was a social outcast, shunned by her town.” And we find out in verse 18 that Jesus knew exactly why. He knew everything she ever did.

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My Knight in Shining Armor

Read it! Ruth 2:14-23

“The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.

“He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.”

She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our Kinsman-redeemers.”

(vs 20)

Think it through

I am fascinated by the idea of a Kinsman Redeemer.

In Ruth, the title “Kinsman Redeemer” refers to male relatives of a deceased husband who had the option to come forward and “redeem” the widow: to marry her and care for her. Without a Kinsman Redeemer, a Jewish widow had very few options. Like Ruth, they were reduced to gathering dropped bits of grain in order to eat.

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I Did It Again

Read it!: Amos 1

For three sins of Damascus, even for four,

I will not turn back my wrath…

(vs 3 and repeated)

 

Think it through:

Amos starts out with a bang, doesn’t he?  He lets us know that God does get tired of our repeated sin.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God has promised to forgive us over and over, but that doesn’t give us the freedom to ignore his laws and commands. He does get frustrated and angry with us when we do wrong, particularly when we know better.

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Should We Be “Two-Faced” for Jesus?

Read it!: I Samuel 24

When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed?

May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.

(vs 19)

 

Think it through:

By I Samuel 24, King Saul had shown himself to be wildly jealous, delusional, and murderous. David has the perfect opportunity to kill the king—the men around him are urging him to do so! Instead, he confronts Saul with his face to the ground, calling him “My lord the king” and “my father.”   Saul sees reason (for once) and commends David for his action.

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