Year of Gladness!

This year our church had a theme called "March Gladness". Everyone was encouraged to find people to help and bless throughout the month of March. While it is a good concept, it is something that I believe everyone should already be doing! As the world grows darker, so does the love for ourselves and the hatred towards one another. No one has compassion for anyone anymore. We are told to look out for ourselves and to fight our way to the top no matter who is in our way. The workplace no longer cares about its employees. To them, the workers are a dime a dozen, and if we can't show up for 60 hours a week, then there's plenty who will. There is no security in a job anymore. Once they offer you a job, they make you sign the dotted line saying that they don't care what happens, they can fire you at any moment.

We have become a selfish society, not caring about the person next to us. We are all in financial crisis and couldn't possibly part with what little we have to help someone else, for we are in need ourselves! The Bible talks about the world getting darker and the love for oneself. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4 it says, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Does this sound like our world today? It most certainly does!

We no longer stop over at our neighbors to borrow a cup of sugar, or invite someone over to spend time with us. We don't stop to help a stranded motorist for fear of what might happen to us. We no longer open up our hands to help others in need, we close our fist and remind ourselves that we have bills and needs or our own and must therefore fend for ourselves! After all, we are the ones making our own money, and obviously those struggling don't have enough faith or determination to make the kind of money we do...so why should we share? One of the saddest statements I have heard someone say is when someone asked if they would be willing to give to the poor, and the person points to their well dressed kids, who have already been fed several times that day, have all their needs met, and says, "I already do!" That is what our society has become!

Let us take time to care and bless the people around us! Sure, none of us think we have enough to give at times, but when we take what little we have and share it with someone in need, God promises to bless and take care of us. Not only does He promise to take care of us, in Luke 6:38 it says, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." It doesn't say, "help someone and you will feel miserable and be left to die!" How good do you feel when you take a moment to help someone you know is in need? It makes you feel worthwhile! Find someone today to bless! Bake them something, send them a card telling them you are praying for them, or just call them and invite them out for lunch. Let others know that they are important and are loved! Not only will they be blessed, you will also!


Be an Example!

Have you ever known kids who were always at church? If the church was open, they were there! They would go to camps, and missions trips, say all the right things when asked questions about God or the Bible, and would always "appear" holy. Yet, when they became adults, they somehow stopped attending church all together and eventually want nothing to do with church or God. Many times we can't figure out what happened. There are many reasons, but one reason I have seen in other families is that the parents don't practice what they preach! They doll their kids up for Sunday and Wednesdays, parade themselves around like they are the holiest of family to the outside, and then when they get home, all of it changes. They shell off their Sunday clothes and Sunday attitudes and leave it at the door. They open the fridge, grab that can of beer, swear, yell at the kids to leave them alone, and turn on the tv, viewing what most would think to be inappropriate to watch. Their children observe as they go from Saints to Sinners in a matter of seconds as their mind becomes confused. They start to view their families as hypocrites and realize that church is something they just "do" for a moment, but not for a lifetime. As soon as they become adults and have a choice, they drop their life of hypocrisy and run as far as they can. They no longer want to parade themselves around. They turn their backs on anything that reminds them of the life that their family put them through, and decide that if that is true Christianity, they want no part of it.

We as parents are responsible for not just the physical and emotional needs of our kids, we are also responsible for their spiritual growth! I had someone tell me that they babysat a child in their home and they would pray with them and tell them about Jesus. By the time the parents worked long hours, and finally took the child home, fed them, and put them to bed, the babysitter actually saw the child more than the parents. Yet, when the child got home, they were surrounded by swearing, alcohol, and a complete lack of respect toward God. Even though the babysitter had more time with the child, who do you think the child followed? The parents!

May God help us to be a true example to our children. Our lives should match at church and at home. If we are truly following God's word, and have Christ in our heart, then there should be no difference in the activities, attitude, and love that we show our children from the moment we step into church to the moment we step into our homes. May God remind us that we are the one main example that our children see, and they will follow in our example. Let us make sure that it is truly a Godly one!

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."