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  • Spiritual Goals for a Christ-Centered Family by Joanne Beckley
  • Forgiveness, Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness by Mayo Clinic Staff
  • Forgive! by Joanne Beckley
  • The Book of John - Jesus is the Son of God, the Light of the World by Joanne Beckley
  • Where There Are Many Words Transgression is Unavoidable by Joanne Beckley

 

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SPIRITUAL GOALS FOR A CHRIST-CENTERED FAMILY

by Joanne Beckley 



Dear parents,
Do you have goals concerning your children? Are you making sure you are teaching them? I would like to suggest the following list of five scriptural goals which will give your children the foundation on which they can build their faith.

Goal I: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12:30).
1. Is your child learning of the love of God through the love, tenderness, and mercy of his parents (training and admonition of the Lord)?
2. Is he learning to talk about the Lord, and to include Him in his thoughts and plans?
3. Is he learning to turn to Jesus for help whenever he is frightened or anxious or lonely?
4. Is he learning to read the Bible?
5. Is he learning to pray?
6. Is he learning the meaning of faith and trust?
7. Is he learning the joy and challenge of the Christian way of life?
8. Is he learning the beauty of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection?

Goal II: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
1. Is he learning to understand and care about the feelings of others?
2. Is he learning not to be selfish and demanding?
3. Is he learning to share?
4. Is he learning not to gossip and criticize others?
5. Is he learning to accept himself?

Goal III: Teach me to do your will; for you are my God” (Psalm 143:10).
1. Is he learning to obey his parents as preparation for later obedience to God?
2. Is he learning to behave properly in church?
3. Is he learning a healthy appreciation for both aspects of God’s nature: love and justice?
4. Is he learning that there are many forms of authority to which he must submit?
5. Is he learning the meaning of sin and its consequences?

Goal IV: “Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
1. Is he learning to be truthful and honest?
2. Is he learning to faithfully worship God on the Lord’s Day (Sunday)?
3. Is he learning that life does not centre on money?
4. Is he learning the meaning of the importance and value of family?
5. Is he learning to obey his conscience – which has been wisely trained by his parents?

Goal V: “but the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
1. Is he learning to give to God, whether money he has earned, or helping others?
2. Is he learning to control getting what he wants and to control his anger?
3. Is he learning to work and carry responsibility?
4. Is he learning the big difference between self-worth and pride?
5. Is he learning to bow in reverence before the God of the universe?

– Adapted from Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives by James Dobson

 

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Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

 
By Mayo Clinic Staff

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.

But if you don't practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you're unforgiving, you might:

  • Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
  • Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can't enjoy the present
  • Become depressed or anxious
  • Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you're at odds with your spiritual beliefs
  • Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you've reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
  • Actively choose to forgive the person who's offended you, when you're ready
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

What happens if I can't forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who's hurt you doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of his or her sorrow. If you find yourself stuck:

  • Consider the situation from the other person's point of view.
  • Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  • Reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who've forgiven you.
  • Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
  • Be aware that forgiveness is a process and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. This isn't always the case, however.

Reconciliation might be impossible if the offender has died or is unwilling to communicate with you. In other cases, reconciliation might not be appropriate. Still, forgiveness is possible — even if reconciliation isn't.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?

If you haven't reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you might prompt you to be tense and stressful. To handle these situations:

  • Remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. If you choose to attend, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings.
  • Respect yourself and do what seems best.
  • Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You're human, and you'll make mistakes.

If you're truly sorry for something you've said or done, consider admitting it to those you've harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.

Remember, however, you can't force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect. 

 

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Forgive!

by Joanne Beckley 

 

Why should I forgive? How do I know I have forgiven? If I have forgiven, why does it still hurt?

Jesus makes it very clear from Matthew 6:14-15 and Matthew 18:21-35 that the one who has sinned against me is not the problem being addressed, but rather I must look to my own attitude toward the sinner. My own debt of sin is unpayable! Yet my Father has forgiven me. Can I not rise above my own hurt, disillusionment, and pain to offer the same release for the one who hurt me? If I cannot, my Father cannot forgive me.

Yes, it is the unseen sins that give us the most pain and make it difficult to forgive--those times when purity was taken from us, loss of dignity, destroyed reputation, even the hurt from a broken marriage. We cannot change what has happened, but we can forgive from the heart. We can release the hurt and hand it over to God. If we do not do so, the pain and anger can turn into bitterness--a sin that God condemns and is soul destroying.

I want to cry out, but my pain is just too deep to forgive! Too deep? Obviously, I have an even greater need to turn it over to God. Today!

I know, I can avoid feeling the pain if I just do not speak to her. I might even go out of my way to avoid seeing her. But then Sunday morning comes. . . and there she is.

I find I want to wait until she asks for my forgiveness before I will forgive her. Should I? Perhaps she never will seek forgiveness! I can go to her and talk with her, telling her that what she has done has hurt me, but I must go with a forgiving heart; Heb 6:9. I must fight my own battle, and I must allow her to fight her battle to correct sinful words/behaviour. If she DOES ask for forgiveness, of course forgive her! Luke 17:3.

We learn from each other's willingness to forgive. When I am forgiven, I see the value in forgiving others. In forgiving I truly begin to value what my Lord has done for me.

What can I do to release the pain?

1. Give sincere down-on-your-knees thanks that God is willing to forgive you. Read again Matthew 18:21-35
2. Do not repeat the story of your hurt with others. This only brings up the hurt and increases the chances of developing bitterness. (Repeating a matter also plays a part in destroying someone else's reputation.)
3. Blow up a balloon and release it. Watch it ascend into the heavens. Give up your disappoint, anger, and hurt to God that He may begin changing your heart. Determine to allow God to exact justice. In fact, gather your friends and talk together about Jesus' command to forgive. Then give each of them a balloon to release. (Please note I did not say to tell your hurting stories to each other.)


May we all value the benefits of forgiving and forgiveness.

 

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Book of John - Jesus is the Son of God, the light of the world

Joanne Beckley

The apostle John recognized Jesus’ deliberate step-by-step words to identify himself as deity and the savior of mankind. To honest hearts he spoke clearly, to the others, he kept hidden the full truth until His time had been fulfilled. John wrote in such a way that it becomes exciting to read and recognize this progression. There can be no other honest conclusion but that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and that He did indeed accomplished His Father’s will here on earth.

The apostle John begins his book by stating clearly that Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Word, just as Jesus emphasized over and over, “I speak only WORDS my Father has given to me.” John then lays out Jesus’ witnesses: God the Father, John the baptizer, the Scriptures, Jesus’ given power in miracles, and Jesus’ own words claiming deity. And now, the apostle John’s own witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

• In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, 1:1.• In Him was life and the life was the light of men, 1:4.• As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God. . . who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, 1:12-13• The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth, 1:14.

John’s witness: • He was before me, 1:15• Of His fullness we all received, and grace for grace, 1:16• No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten So, who is in the bosem of the Father, He has declared Him, 1:29.• Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, 1:29.• The same is He that baptizes in the Holy Spirit, 1:33.• He comes from above and above all. What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness, 3:31,32. • What he has seen he testifies, 3:32.• He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, 3:34• The Father loves the Son, an gave all things into his hands, 3:35.

God’s witness:• I have both glorified it (Jesus words and work) and will glorify it again, 12:28.

Jesus’ words:• Come and you will see. . . Follow Me, 1:39,43.

TEMPLE CLEANSED • Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise, 2:16.• Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up, 2:19.

NICODEMUS • Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, 3:3.• No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 3:13,14.• God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world but that the world should be saved through Him, 3:17.

WOMAN AT JACOB’S WELL • If you knew the gift of God . . . He would have given you living water. . . the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life, 4:10,14.• I who speak to you am He, John 4:26.• My meat is to do the will of him who sent me, 4:34.

MAN HEALED AT POOL OF BETHESDA • My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working, 5:17.• The son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father doing. . . these the son also does in like manner, 5:19.• As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes, 5:21.• As the Father has life in himself, even so gave he to his son to have life in himself, 5:26.• He gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man, 5:27.• I can do nothing on My own initiative. My judgment is just because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent me, 5:30.• Jesus’ witnesses:• I am he that beareth witness of myself, • and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me, 8:18.• John has borne witness to the truth,5:31• The works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me, 5:36• The Scriptures bear witness of Me, 5:39.

THE FEEDING OF 5000 • I am the bread of life, 6:33.• He that the Father draws I will raise him up in the last day, 6:44.• No man has seen the Father, save He that is from God, 6:46.• I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me, 6:57.• Te words I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life, 6:63.

TEACHING IN TEMPLE • The world hates me because I testify against it that its actions are evil, 7:7.• If anyone wants to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or I speak from myself. He that speaks from himself seeks his own glory; he that seeks glory of Him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him, 7:17,18.• You know me and know where I come from and I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom you do not know. I know him, because I am from Him and He sent me, 7:28.• Yet a little while I am with you and I go to Him that sent me,7:33.• He that believes on me as the scripture says, from within him shall flow rivers of living water, 7:37.

WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY - TEACHING IN TEMPLE • You are from beneath, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world, 8:23.• When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you shall know that I am and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things, 8:28.• As the Father taught me, I speak these things, 8:28.• He that sent me is with me, He has not left me alone, for I do always the things that are pleasing to Him, 8:29.• Before Abraham was born, I am, 8:58

BLIND MAN - POOL OF SALOAM • Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that God’s work might be revealed in Him, 9:3• Do you believe on the Son of God. . . you have both seen him and it is he who is speaking to you. (The man worshiped him and Jesus accepted his worship.) 9:35ff• For judgment came I into the world that they who see not may see and the that see may become blind, 9:39.• I am the door of the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life, that I may take it up again. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father, 10:7-18.• I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. My Father has given my sheep to me and He is greater than all, 10:29.• I and my Father are one, 10:30.• Many works have I showed you from the Father...If you do not believe me, believe the works so you can know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father, 10:32,38.

LAZARUS RAISED FROM DEATH • I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believes on me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die, 11:25-26.• Said I not unto you (Martha) that if you believe, you shall see the glory of God? 11:40• I know that you hear me always; but because of the multitude that they may believe that you sent me, 11:42.

MARY ANOINTS JESUS, TRIUMPHAL ENTRY • The time is come that the son of man should be glorified. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say. Father save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father glorify thy name, 12:23-28.• This voice has not come for my sake, but for yours. (A voice out of heaven saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.) 12:30.• Yet a little while is the light among you, 12:34.• The word that I speak, the same will judge him in the last day, 12:48.

JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST • I have spoken openly to the world, I ever taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where al the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing. Why aske this of me? Ask them that have heard me, what I spoke unto them; behold, these know the things which I said, 18:20,21.• My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence, 18:36.• You say I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witnes unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice, 18:37.

The apostle John also gives us an understanding of WHY someone cannot believe Jesus is who he claims to be:

• The darkness apprehended not the light, 1:5.• You have not the love of God in yourselves, 5:40.• You receive glory one of another and do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God, 5:44• You do not believe (Moses) writings, 5:47.• You seek me, not because you saw signs but because you ate and were filled, 6:26.• You seek to kill me because my word does not have free course in you, 8:37.• You are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father it is your will to do, 8:44.• Ye are gods. . .If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (Exodus 22:26; Psa 82:6), say you of him, who the Father sanctified and sent into the world, you blasphemed because I said I am the Son of God? 10:34.• Every one that is of the truth hears my voice, 18:37.

 

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"Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable."
Joanne Beckley
 
Working with inappropriate and wrongful pride is so frustratingly difficult! Just when I think I am beginning to make headway–I fail yet again. If you are traveling the same road, join me again in considering several verses and thoughts that can increase our love for truth and erase any trace of hypocrisy.

  • “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” (1 Cor 3:18)
  • “If anyone thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Gal 6:3)
  • 1Ti 4:2 through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;

There are so many ways we can find ourselves professing holiness and yet be branding our own conscience with sinful self-deceptions, even while proclaiming God’s Word. My specific downfall continues to be exaggeration while making a valid point, perhaps increasing the details of a story, location, timing, etc. Lying! Where is my love for truth in the moment? I know better, my conscience is muted, but active. So, why do I let my pride reign supreme in the emphasis of the telling? I have condemned myself. I am conscious of speaking these innocent lies yet giving a hypocritical show of a pure life!

Yes, I have deceived myself, labeling lies as innocent, unwilling to be a “fool” (dull and shut up!) that I might be wise. It is true that a bad conscience always resort to hypocrisy.

And so, I try yet again to raise my love for truth above my pride, memorizing the following:

  • Ps 101:7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: He that speaketh falsehood shall not be established before mine eyes.
  • Ho 10:13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies:
  • Pr 30:5 Every word of God is tried: He is a shield unto them that take refuge in him.
  • 6 Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
  • Ps 119:29 Remove from me the way of falsehood; And grant me thy law graciously.
  • 30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness: Thine ordinances have I set before me.
  • Pr 13:5 A righteous man hateth lying; But a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame. 6 Righteousness guardeth him that is upright in the way; But wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
  • Pr 20:17 Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man; But afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
  • Eph 4:25 Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.