Jesus teaches us, "WATCH OUT AND GUARD YOURSELVES FROM EVERY KIND OF GREED; BECAUSE YOUR TRUE LIFE IS NOT MADE UP OF THE THINGS YOU OWN" yet this time of year, greed and possessions are a main focus in our society, including people who claim to follow Jesus. Many retail businesses sell more at Christmas time than any other time of the year. Although their advertising may entice, the desire for possessions is not the fault of the business people making a profit fulfilling people's selfish desires. People may say they are focused on giving but there is a whole lot more interest in getting. Many children learn from their parents at a very early age that the meaning of Christmas is getting gifts. Some may object to that statement but just ask the kids. We need to focus and teach our children to focus on the gift God gave us, "HIS ONLY SON, SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM MAY NOT DIE BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE". Some of our desires come from wanting what others have, which God speaks against in the 10th Commandment, "DO NOT DESIRE ANOTHER MAN'S OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT HE OWNS". Jesus gets us back to the basic concerns when He talks about concern for food and clothing. He suggest that such concerns are from people who do not know God but today many who say they know God and are Christians have these concerns. Many would consider it unthinkable to rely on God completely as Jesus suggests when He says, "BE CONCERNED ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND WITH WHAT HE REQUIRES OF YOU, AND HE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL THESE OTHER THINGS". Most people, who will agree that Jesus tells the truth and that they believe in Jesus, would balk at the idea of trusting God to "PROVIDE" everything. 1
If we desire to want what God wants in our life, how do we accomplish this? We can overcome our selfish desires with God's help. In our daily prayers, we can ask God in Jesus' name to help us "DENY" ourselves and our personal wants and replace them with what God wants for us. We can continue this thought as we pray daily the prayer Jesus told us to pray, "MAY YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN". As we have faith or recognize that God is answering our requests we can move to thanking God for guiding us in what He wants, everyday, for the rest of our lives. Our prayers can overwhelm the temptations of our flesh and the devil. Yes, we may need to also exercise the "AUTHORITY" Jesus has given us over "ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY". As terrifying as it appears to trust God for everything, we may back into this blessing by being "CONCERNED ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE WITH THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND WITH WHAT HE REQUIRES OF YOU" and praise God as He blesses us by providing for us. God will provide for us by opening "THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN AND POUR OUT ON YOU IN ABUNDANCE ALL KINDS OF GOOD THINGS". 2
1. Lk 12:15; Jn 3:16; Ex 20:17: Mt 6:33 (GN)
2. Lk 9:23; Mt 6:10; Lk 10:19; Mal 3:10 (GN)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
A Psalm for reflection "Help me want to obey Your rules instead of selfishly wanting riches." Ps 119:36 (IC)
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Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
As you improve communication, you will discover that most problems can be solved by improved communication using the Speaker Listener Technique we teach in our Marriage Workshops. Occasionally there could be a problem that could use formal problem solving. The 4 steps to problem solving are: 1. Agenda Setting - decide and write down the specific concern (like, how do we keep our dishes washed) 2. Brain Storming - write down all the ideas, no evaluating, silly ok (like, hire a maid, only use paper plates, eat out all the time, take turns, etc.) 3. Agreement and compromise - a good time to use the SLT 4. Follow Up - agree to a specific time to follow up and see how the agreement worked and be specific (like if you wrote down we agree to get our son a pet, one of you could be thinking a puppy and one could be thinking a horse) Remember some problems could seem to be unsolvable. That is the time to decide how we can protect what is great about our marriage from this seemingly unsolvable problem.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). Obviously, without your spouse's cooperation you would have difficulty in problem solving. No matter how serious the problem appears to be, it is good to consider that your marriage may be more important than most problems and it is good to make an effort to protect your marriage. Remember, God said, "I hate divorce" (Mal 2:16 NI).
When a spouse calls "time out", it is an opportunity for a couple to calm down before continuing the conversation at a later time (anywhere from an hour to no later than the next day) using the Speaker Listener Technique. Initially after calling time out it is an opportunity to take authority over the enemy and pray for the marriage. Example: "In the name of Jesus I command you demons to shut up and leave our marriage and not return" "Thank you God for helping our marriage be in Your will and guiding us in our relationship, in Jesus name, amen." When a spouse will not cooperate, you can still take authority over the enemy and pray for your marriage.
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