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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

A new Kindle deal for you: Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane & Paul Tripp (Free at least today)!

The Green Grass Session – Here’s a new (and unexpected) release from the Getty’s!

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An excerpt from What Do You Want People To Say At Your Funeral? by Mark Altrogge:

What do you want people to say at your funeral?  What will your children say? What will your wife say? Will people say things like, she was a great Mom. He was a wonderful husband – he really took good care of his wife in her last years. She was the most humble woman I know. He was the best brother in the world. He always put others first. My mom always had time to listen to us. Dad did so much with us when we were kids. She was my best friend. He was always serving someone. She never thought of herself.

Or will your loved ones say things like this: I never really knew my Dad because he was always at work. Mom didn’t seem to have much time for us as kids. Dad always seemed disappointed in me. Mom and I didn’t talk that much. Dad seemed like he was angry with us all the time.

If you look at all these statements, both good and bad, they all have to do with relationships and character. Relationships: she was a loving mother. Dad always had time for us. My mom was my best friend. And character: she was the most humble woman I know. Every week he’d read to a blind man. He was always joyful.

Relationships and character. That’s what’s going to matter in the end. I once heard this statement: Success in any other area of life cannot make up for failure at home. This is not to condemn anyone – I’ve failed many times as a husband and dad. But like the question I’m asking today this statement helps me focus. What if I’m the most “successful” man in the world? What if I make all kinds of money or create the next YouTube, yet neglect my wife and kids? Will I really be successful? What do I want people to say at my funeral?

An even more important question: what will God say when you die? Will he say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master”? To hear those words would mean more than almost any others.

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I think many will relate to and be helped by this post by Tony Reinke:

L Train Subway Car Interior - MTA / New York City Subway

Loneliness can be an embarrassing topic we don’t like to talk about or admit to. Yet all of us are familiar with it, to some degree, because loneliness is an inescapable consequence of the fall.

No surprise, we get requests for more content on loneliness. To that end, let me introduce Paul Matthies. Paul is a Christian, former missionary in Asia, current pastor in Texas, he’s single and he has openly shared his struggle with loneliness over the years. In the summer of 2006, while serving as a pastor at The Village Church, Matthies preached a four-part sermon series titled “Only the Lonely” (links available below). The series offers a much-needed biblical theology of loneliness and is filled with mature thoughts on the problem, and wise words of gospel hope, for those enduring its pain.

Recently I went through the four sermons and pulled out 20 quotes to share the flavor of the hope offered in these messages.


“Loneliness is a common human experience. Meaning that all of us, whether single or married, whether for a short period of time or for an extended season, deal with loneliness. Why so? Well that leads into my second aim that loneliness is, at it’s root, a spiritual issue. But often we define loneliness in physical or emotional terms. We think loneliness can be defined by the absence of people whether physically or emotionally. So we think to ourselves, ‘What we need to do to fix our problem of loneliness is to have more people in our lives.’ And when that doesn’t work we think, ‘Well, we needmore considerate people in our lives.’ And so I talked about how we define loneliness as emotional or physical. But that doesn’t complete the picture because loneliness is also the presence of pain. Loneliness is not just the absence of people, it’s the presence of pain, the pain of separation from God and others. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam decided to choose the pleasures of sin, and in doing so, inherited the pain of loneliness.”

“The worst type of loneliness comes from our sin and disobedience. We do it to ourselves through the pleasures of sin. . . . The second type of loneliness is that loneliness that comes upon us through our circumstances. Not all loneliness is our fault. Sometimes we’re thrust into it. . . . The third type of loneliness comes upon us through our obedience and courage, the loneliness that comes from being Christ’s disciple.”

“In Philippians 3:10, Paul uses the phrase, ‘the fellowship of his sufferings.’ So many of us love to enter into the fellowship of God’s joy, but Scripture also calls us into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. And sometimes, we don’t need avoid the pain or numb the pain, we need to look at that pain and ask God for a deeper joy.”

Much more at 20 Quotes on Loneliness

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How to read a Christian book:  Jean Williams has 11 helps to remembering and profiting from what you read.

William Boekestein at Ligonier Ministries writes about Biblical Personal Finances: Spending for God’s Glory.

Ten Words That Drastically Changed My Relationships: Helpful post by  Allison Vesterfelt

Helping Others Cool Down:  Dealing with anger in your own life is challenging. But, what about dealing with other people’s anger? What counsel do we glean from God’s Word on how to respond in heated moments?

The Bible Motivates Us In Many Ways by Kevin DeYoung:  “As important as justification is for the Christian, it’s not meant to be the only prescription in our pursuit of holiness. . . . There’s no doubt that justification is fuel for our sanctification. But it is not the only kind of fuel we can put in the tank. If we only remind people of our acceptance before God we will flatten the contours of Scripture and wind up being poor physicians of souls.”

Enable Us to Always Open Our Mouth with Wisdom (A prayer by Matthew Henry):  Let the law of kindness be under our tongue. Let us know what is acceptable in your hearing for us to say, that our tongue may be as choice silver, and our lips may feed many. (Prov 31:26; 10:32; 10:20-21). More at the link above.

 

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We live in an age where we think faster is better. As Jonathan writes:   “Fast internet, fast food, fast living, but more often than not, we are slow to hear and quick to speak. So while our speed is picking up, so is our relational foolishness. Hurried to get on to the next task, event, or tweet, we ride right over people. If we could reverse this malady, conflict would be less frequent and easier. More importantly, deeper relationships of understanding, love, and trust would emerge. Here are four ways to apply the biblical adage “Be quick to hear, slow to speak.”

The four thoughts John shares are as follows:

  1. Make time for relationships and space for questions
  2. Look through the problem to understand the person
  3. Let stinging words and bad theology flow past you
  4. Recognize you don’t possess the power to change the person

Read the rest of “4 Ways to Listen in an Age of Speed”

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Paul Tripp writes,

Be honest with yourself. You’ve been disappointed in some way with every relationship you’ve ever had. It’s the universal experience of everyone this side of destiny. No, it’s not that you’ve met the wrong people or that you lack relational skills. It’s that every relationship you’ve had, you’ve had in a fallen world. You never get to hang out with perfect people. You never get to have those perfect relationships in a perfect location and with perfect circumstances surrounding you. No, all of your relationships are with flawed people in a flawed world. And don’t forget, you’re one of those flawed people as well! So how can you gain ground? How can your relationships become better than they are right now? Let me suggest four ways:

1. Determine to be realistic. I love how shockingly honest the Bible is. It’s a book that really doesn’t pull any punches. You see, what damages our relationships is not having a realistic acceptance of our own weaknesses and struggles. What damages our relationships is our delusions of perfection and strength! The first step in any kind of change is admitting that change is needed in the first place.

2. Determine to be honest. One of the things that gets in the way of healthy relationships is silence. Maybe our problem is that we simply don’t love one another enough to have the hard conversations that are what good relationships are all about. If you are in a relationship with a flawed person, you will be touched by those flaws. Maybe it will come as an unkind word, an act of selfishness, or an outburst of irritation. Quick and loving honesty in those moments can keep a relationship from being distorted by bad habits and subverted by bitterness.

3. Determine to focus on yourself. No, I am not counseling you to be selfish, I am encouraging you to be humble. Good relationships are the result of both people being committed to personal change and growth. Self-examination is a key way you demonstrate love for the other person. It is very easy to be all-too-satisfied with yourself, while being irritated and impatient with the weaknesses of another. When you have two people who are committed to heart change, the relationship will change and grow as well.

4. Determine to live and give hope. There is a reason you don’t have to settle for the relational status quo. There is a reason you don’t have to panic. There is a reason you don’t have to pack your bags and give up. The cross of Jesus Christ is the epicenter of hope of every relationship. Jesus was willing to face the ultimate in suffering, the rejection of his Father, so that we could experience reconciliation with him and with one another. No, you don’t have what it takes to make you and the other person do the right thing, but he does! He is the Prince of Peace and he is able to bring lasting peace to where conflict once reigned. How does he do this? By doing the one thing we can’t do for ourselves! He changes our hearts, and the result is radical change in our words and our actions. Look for ways to point the other person to this hope as well.

So be determined. Don’t settle for way less than what Jesus suffered and died to give you. Be honest about your relationships and be hopeful about change. You can do both, because in Jesus Christ you really do have everything you need to live in peace with God and the people he has placed in your life.

For more information about Paul Tripp Ministries, visit www.paultripp.com

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Paul Tripp sends out Wednesday’s Word, a resource of Paul Tripp Ministries. For more information about Paul Tripp Ministries, visit www.paultripp.com:

We all dream of the perfect relationship. You know, the one that is free of disagreement, conflict, communication difficulties, power battles, anger and control. We can envision what it would be like. The problem is, none of us ever get what we were once able to imagine. When we wake up from our dreams, we all are greeted by the reality that all of our relationships live in the same location – the fallen world, and all of our relationships are with the same kind of person – an imperfect human being. (I will remind you again, you’re one of those too!)

Now you just have to ask why God would choose to subject us to such difficulty and disappointment. Is there meaning in the mess? Is there mercy in the mess? Maybe right now you are facing things in one of your relationships you never imagined you would face. Maybe right now you are dealing with such deep hurt and disappointment that you simply don’t know what to do. Have you wondered what in the world God is doing? Have you been tempted to doubt his goodness and question his love?

Here are some things to remember:

1. God never gets a wrong address. Acts 17 tells us that God determines the exact place where we will live and the exact length of our lives. Your life is not out of control. What you are facing is not the result of God forgetting you. No, God hasn’t turned his back on the promises he made to you. I know it’s hard to grasp, but what you’re facing is the result of God being faithful to his promises to you.

2. God is in the middle of the mess with you. Psalm 46 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” If you are God’s child, you have never been in a location all by yourself. If you are God’s child, you have never been in a relationship all by yourself. You have never endured difficulty in isolation. Why? Because God is always with you and he is there so that you would have a place to run (“refuge”) and help in your moments of greatest discouragement and weakness (“strength”).

3. God is up to something good in the mess. Here’s the mistake we make in the way we attempt to make sense out of lives. We think that the mess is a sure sign that God is not working in our lives, because if he were at work, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. The Bible tells us something completely different. It tells us that because God loves us so, he is not satisfied with us as we are. He looks down at us and sees many areas where change and growth are needed. He couldn’t love us and be willing to leave us in our immaturity and weakness. So, God takes us where we do not want to go in order to produce in us what we could not achieve on our own – character. And how does he do this? He uses the difficult experiences of life to expose and change our hearts. One of his main tools is our relationships. These messy relationships expose our hearts, bring us to the end of ourselves and cause us to reach out for the help that only Jesus can give us.

I know it is hard to face the hurt and disappointment of a relationship gone bad. But there is hope. You are never alone. The One who is with you is up to something very good and because he is, there really is mercy to be found right smack dab in the middle of the mess!

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