One of our favorite family vacation sites is a beautiful beach community located in an adjoining state. We like to go there during the “off season” when few tourists are around. Though the ocean water is a little chilly, we enjoy swimming in an indoor pool. Also, there’s a lazy river that surrounds the pool and holds a special appeal for our kids. They’ve tried to swim against its current over the years, only to be carried in the opposite direction.
Charles complained to his friend about some lower back pain. He was seeking a sympathetic ear, but his friend gave him an honest assessment. “Your back isn’t your problem,” he pointed out. “It’s your stomach. Your stomach is so big it’s pulling on your back.”
"If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself" (Galatians 6:1). What are some practical ways for us to live out this verse?
For the past 2 years, I’ve served in a church in the urban heart of a large city. It’s a difficult ministry that calls one to have deep compassion and an open heart for others—things that don’t come naturally to me. I often feel woefully unqualified and wonder how I can be the person of grace and compassion that I need to be.
Many years ago, sin-eating was practiced in parts of the UK and the US. A sin-eater was normally a poor, hungry person who was brought to the home of a dead person, where he was given some bread to eat and a drink to consume. After having his fill, he would then ritually pray over the deceased. This curious custom supposedly absolved the dead person—and sometimes a whole family—of sin. The sin-eater would then be shunned by the local community until he was needed again. Why was he shunned? He had “eaten” (taken on) the sins of the dead.
Our young daughter Katelyn enjoys playing solitaire, but she lacks the patience to persist through the difficult points in the game. Instead of trying to solve being “stuck,” she’ll simply start a new game. I’ve challenged her not to give up but to seek the next available move.
During a difficult season of life when I questioned God’s kindness and care, many believers in Jesus came alongside me. They allowed me to be real with my struggles, but refused to let me dwell on them. They pointed me to Scripture, prayed for me, and helped meet my needs. Their compassion helped me experience Christ’s gentle love (Deuteronomy 32:2). Rather than judge me for my weak faith, my confidants proved that “a friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (Proverbs 17:17).
Recent research has revealed what teenagers truly desire from the adults in their lives. The Search Institute study found that teens want parents and other older influencers to do the following: 1. Look at us. 2. Spend time talking with us. 3. Listen. 4. Be dependable. 5. Show appreciation for what we do. 6. Relax. 7. Show that you’re interested. 8. Laugh with us (and at yourself). 9. Ask us to help you. 10. Challenge us.
Recently, I watched the making of a popular Korean TV drama. I’ve been a fan of the show, but the behind-the-scene experience brought my appreciation to a new level. I learned that a successful program requires more than just a talented screenwriter. She needs the actors and actresses to bring the story to life. Then, there’s the director, the lighting engineers, the editors, and more. The crew members of this show work so well together that they recently went on vacation in Cebu to celebrate the show’s success. That’s a team!