Saturday, June 30, 2012
Day Thirty – The Greatest Command
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
When asked what the most important commandment was Jesus replied with the verses above. They are first love God with everything you have then love your neighbor as yourself.
Quite simple. We cannot love others well if we do not first love God. We cannot love others well if we do not have an unshakable knowledge of His great love for us. Do you have an understanding of just how great God’s love is for you? Do you love Him?
Once we have this settled we can freely love our neighbor. So who qualifies as our neighbor? Our siblings do for sure! They are our closest neighbor. Then extending beyond our home is our next door neighbor then those in the town we live in then beyond. How well are you loving?
Remember this is no task that can be done in your own strength. You must die to yourself and rely on God’s power in you to love others well.
I do hope this 30 day experiment has helped you! I would love to hear. Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will do well with one another. Keep the bigger picture in mind. We are working for Christlikeness. The Holy Spirit will work this in us. Eternity is what matters. Keep focused and walk it out. Keep peace in your home. Love your family well.
Do a random act of kindness today or this week toward your sibling(s) that would show them love.
You can try this too. Please let me know how this experiment worked out for you.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Day Twenty-Nine – Put on Humility
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5b-6).
When you get dressed for the day it doesn’t take much effort to put on your clothes. It is something you do daily and really does not require too much thought. The verse above tells us to clothe ourselves with humility. Just as we are getting dressed we should be thinking of how we are putting on humility. It is a choice.
Why would we want to do this? Why dress in humility? Because God opposes the opposite. Do we want to be opposed by God? Certainly not! However when we are humble God shows us favor. I have seen this happen again and again in my life. Yet I still chose pride and watch it blow up in my face in the end. Maybe immediately I get what I want but over time it just crumbles. It causes many troubles and destruction. Whereas humility may be harder up front it spares us all the damage that pride causes.
So let us humble ourselves and trust God has us in His capable hands. He will lift us up at the proper time. We can trust Him.
Discuss where you can show humility in your relationship with your sibling(s). Carry that out today or this week.
Maybe this would be a good time for you to search your own heart to see where you may need to show humility to your children or spouse. Help your children with this exercise.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Day Twenty-Eight – Oh Fear
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The other thing that causes fights is fear. It is a subtle form of pride because it is still self-focus. However, it is rooted in lack of trust. When we fear things will not go the way we would like them to we can start to try to control situations. We chose to manipulate things instead of trusting God to work it out.
Do you struggle with this fear?
Do you struggle with a need to control things?
It is still self-focus. The remedy to it is resting securely in God’s perfect love for you. We must believe it and trust it.
1 John 4:17-19 says, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”
God’s perfect love for us expels all fear. We can rest in His capable hands. We can trust Him to handle anything in our life because of His love for us. Then when we trust and believe in His love for us we can in turn pour out love toward others.
So don’t fear things going in a different direction than you hoped. God works things out in His ways. We cannot control them. Let things go in another direction. Be flexible. Love others this way as you die to your need to control and rest in HIS perfect love for you. In turn pour that love out toward others.
Discuss with your siblings anything that you see them trying to control. Offer suggestions to help work through this together. Also, examine your hearts for any areas of fear in your heart. Discuss this and offer suggestions to help work through it together.
Again help facilitate this conversation and make suggestions depending on your observations of your children. They can be great cheerleaders for one another as they work through areas of difficulty together. It is often helpful for others to pinpoint these areas in our lives because often we cannot see them clearly.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Day Twenty-Seven – Oh Pride
“Pride leads to conflict” (Proverbs 13:10a).
There are two things that lead to fighting. The first is pride. Pride leads to quarrelling and fights. Just like we learned from our study on James earlier, pride can be defined as self-focus. When we find ourselves preoccupied with ourselves more than we are others we probably have a pride problem.
The cure? Serving others. We must readjust our thoughts and minds to think of others more than ourselves. We must serve others considering their best. Jesus is the perfect example to learn from. Philippians 2:5-11 says this of Jesus:
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The only One in the history of the world who would have a right to be prideful is Jesus who lived a perfect sinless life. He was 100% man and 100% God yet He chose humility in all things. God then lifted Him up. We need to learn from Him in dealing with others. We do not need to assert our way but humble ourselves to let others have their way. God will work the rest out.
In the Christian life the way up is down. It is all completely different than the world’s ways. The world will tell you to step on others to get your way. That is not God’s way. Follow Christ’s example and you will get farther than you know.
Practice humility today. Instead of insisting on your way or choices when relating to your sibling(s) humble yourself and do what they want to do.
Catch your children humbling themselves and make an effort to praise their effort. Encourage them to continue in the way of Jesus.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Day Twenty-Six – Some Good Siblings
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
Who invited Jesus into the house?
Who sat at the Lord’s feet?
Why did Martha not sit at the Lord’s feet?
How did she respond?
How did Jesus respond?
What was really wrong with Martha?
What do you think she was more worried about? Maybe how Jesus would like her food or house? Or how she could get praise for her amazing housekeeping skills? Having the perfect cake to serve the Savior? Whatever it was she did not get the point of His visit. He does not need to be wowed and this visit proved that. Later we see Martha responding better. How this was just a moment of stressful selfishness.
I like the sibling group of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They were not perfect. Yet they all lived together and cared well for one another. Martha was greatly gifted in hospitality and service, Mary was more contemplative giving out mercy and prayer. Lazarus was the kind brother who probably protected them.
This pleasant home was a place that Jesus often took refuge. They were his good friends. They loved spending time with Him. Jesus even raised Lazarus from the dead! Jesus ate with them, laughed with them, enjoyed company with them. They were comfortable with one another.
Mary knew that hanging on to Jesus every word was very important. So she did this. However, Martha got distracted and focused on something unimportant and took it out on Mary. Martha thought Mary should be doing more helping when really Martha should have been doing more visiting.
Look up this family and read something else about them from your Bible. Discuss what was good about them. Think about how you can learn from their example or Jesus’ words.
Help your kids find another story about this family and help them with a conversation about it. Try to help them see areas of unimportance that they may tend to focus on instead of Jesus.