Here at Trinity we were blessed this year to have the director of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins, at our Heartline women’s clinic annual banquet. His organization has done extensive research on families, and this is what they made an amazing discovery: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF09A40.pdf
The research revealed that the church, to a certain extent, could fill the void of an absentee parent when the single mother or father immerses himself or herself in the life of that church. What hope this discovery offers single parents who are struggling to fill both roles!
As a pastor, my heart goes out to you, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
I firmly believe one of our biggest challenges in America isn’t the economy or the current immigration problem. No, I believe our biggest challenge is the decline of family values and fathers who have checked out. Here at Trinity I have the high honor and sacred trust to preach to thousands weekly. In my communication I like to address men as men. Because I know a man wants to be addressed as a man. So let me speak to all the men with a father’s heart. This is not in any way meant to condemn you, but to challenge you.
Men, if you have fathered a child, you should be married to that child’s mother – not just living with her. Do you know why that is important? Because every commitment you make in life is formalized. Whether you buy a car, rent an apartment, or buy a home, you sign an agreement. Marriage, however, is much more important than an agreement or a contract. It’s a covenant. God loves marriage and God designed marriage. Why?
Malachi 2:15 (NLT)
“15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
Marriage is for the benefit of children and society at large.
But you might say, “Pastor I’ve made mistakes. It’s too late. I can’t undo what has already been done.”
Okay granted, so from this point forward say, “God help me be the best father I can be from this point forward, under the circumstances.”
God is a God of second chances and He will help you and bless you. Do not be negligent in committing to raising your children and loving them the best you can under the circumstances you are in.
If you’re in a blended family, love those children as if they were your own. And please, don’t play favorites. Love them all the same. Love them uniquely, because we need to love them differently because they have different needs. But don’t love one more than the other.
The Bible is filled with examples, in the Old Testament of the patriarchs of old loving one child above another child and creating all kinds of anarchy and rivalry, jealousy and contentions.
This is my challenge men; my prayer for you: don’t be AWOL. Be present and love your God, wife and children.
To hear more check out my video sermon @ http://www.carltoti.com/2014/07/4orty-4our-acts-2-detonate-part-10/
Relationships are selfish by nature. We are in relationships for a reason; there is something we expect to receive from them. We usually give something in exchange for something else. All is good if we are mutually agreeable under God to what that exchange is. Exchange is good – exploitation is bad. Any time we enter a relationship with selfish motives as opposed to benevolent motives, we set that relationship up for its own demise. We must enter our relationships with the expectation to give not to receive.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:28 (NIV)
When we enter a marriage expecting to receive, we begin to exploit the relationship until it is dry. It is easy to begin reducing our relationship down to a business transaction. It becomes a quid pro quo. “I gave you this. You must give me something of greater value in return,” reduces our relationship to a series of loans and debts, sinking the relationship into emotional bankruptcy. Get your relationship out of the red and into the black by making more deposits than withdrawals.
Just a Thought,
When it comes to relationships, we often look for the exit instead of working through our differences. Whether it be a work relationship, marital relationship, friendship, or in our churches, relationships become unworkable when we allow our differences to define us.
God made us all different, so you can’t truly accept another person unless you are willing to accept their differences. We become angry when a relationship isn’t living up to our expectations. Yet, many times we have not clearly defined what those expectations are in the relationship.
Unspoken wants, needs and expectations can become the source of our anger and disappointment. No one can read your mind. You must verbalize your feelings and expectations. We assume the other person knows what we want or need, and when those unspoken needs go unfulfilled we retaliate by complaining, withdrawing, or by verbally attacking them.
When we legitimately love someone, we don’t use emotional blackmail to get our way. In relationships that matter most, is your love, trust and acceptance conditional or unconditional? Is it “I love you only as long as you do this? Or is it “I love you, period.” The more conditions we have in a relationship the more distance there will be in that relationship. Even if someone could live up to all our expectation we still wouldn’t be satisfied; we would only increase the demands. It’s called human nature.
It is only when we love others without expecting anything in return–that we are truly loving others the way God loves us.
Just a Thought,
In our relationships we can be ‘right’ or we can be ‘happy’ but it is nearly impossible to be both ‘right’ and ‘happy’ at the same time. This is why we must learn the art of letting go. Letting go of the things that are holding us back. It is the principal of release. Jesus said, “whose sins you retain shall be retained whose sins you release shall be released” (John 20:23).
Have you been hanging on or letting go?
How do you let go?
• Let go of the excess baggage that you might be carrying around. Release all the toxic emotions and negative thoughts that are holding you back.
• Change the filter through which you see others. Develop new patters of response to others. Catch yourself when you are editing that person instead of edifying them in your mind.
• Give others the benefit of the doubt. Assume their intentions are right. After all you don’t know what they may be going through.
What is more important being ‘right’ or being ‘happy’?
Just a Thought,
Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love. This weekend people across the nation will share their love with flowers, candy, cards and romantic dinners.
But what is love? Is love today different than it was 100 years ago? How do we define love in a lost world?
I came across this definition a long time ago. “Love gives at the expense of self. Lust gets at the expense of others.”
In other words love is not a mushy emotion that embraces all, forgives all, forgets all, and requires nothing. In order for love to be love, it must be sacrificial. You could say that the main theme of the entire Bible is love. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son.”
Love is less what you feel and more of what you give. Think about this – you can have a relationship without love; but you can’t have love without a relationship. Love and relationships go hand in hand.
Have you ever considered how relationships are forever?
You never really end a relationship. The form of a relationship changes, but the relationship continues. No matter how separated, hurt or angry, feelings might continue through memories and shared experiences we had with that person.
When you break up a relationship you are not ending the relationship as much as you are changing the form of the relationship. You change it from friend to enemy or from former spouse to ex-spouse, from former boss to ex-boss.
Even death doesn’t change the fact that you were in relationship with a loved one. Death doesn’t end a relationship; it only changes it’s form. This is why we must take better care of our relationships and be judicious about the relationships we enter into.
I wish young people understood this truth so they would avoid recreational relationships that are used for immediate gratification and then abruptly discarded.
Avoiding Relationship Busters!
Willard F. Harley, Jr., wrote a book called Love Busters, in which he detailed six ways we relate that destroy love.
1. Selfish demands: we want things our way, and we want them that way now. How can anyone love a dictator?
2. Disrespectful judgments: we’re more critical of those we love than anybody else in the world. Why can’t we be as courteous and respectful of our loved ones as we would a stranger?
3. Angry outbursts: we let all the resentment from our job, our school and our casual relationships blow up when we get home. Everybody walks around on eggshells because they don’t want the time bomb to go off.
4. Dishonesty: if we can’t trust the truth of what our loved ones say, then we can’t trust them. Without trust, there can be no deep relationship; there can be no love.
5. Annoying habits: why do we keep on doing things that we know irritate those we love?
6. Independent behaviors: how can we live in love when we just do our own thing and never consider the needs of our loved ones? Consideration is the fruit of love, and real love considers others first.
I admit I have violated all six. But each day, I get a fresh start to love the people God has blessed my life with.
Just a thought,