I was troubled to learn about a survey study in 2015 showing that “kids raised in religious homes were less generous and kind than those raised in non-religious homes.” They “tended to be more judgmental, less altruistic, and more punitive than kids raised without religion.” Yikes!
Everybody wants strong muscles, right? Well, your physical muscles aren’t the only ones you have. People shouldn’t just exercise their physical muscles but also their intellectual, emotional, and definitely their spiritual muscles. Just like lifting weights, doing sit-ups, and going for runs make us physically stronger and fit, we should also monitor and exercise our faith…
When a friend, loved one, or even just an acquaintance, is grieving, it’s hard to know what to say to them. You hate to see them hurting, so you try to come up with something comforting to say. But some things are better than others. Here 5 good things to say, and 5 to avoid.
Even if you aren’t one of those crazed UNC fans, you can still respect Dean Smith, who coached Carolina’s men’s basketball team for 36 years. He had the same philosophy for coaching basketball as he did for life: “Play hard, play smart, play together.” That can inspire us too.
We might not see it much in our small town setting, but when you drive to the larger towns and cities near us, you start to notice: people on the corner, at the intersection, or at the gas station, asking for money. You’re wary that it might be a scam, or just someone wanting money for substance abuse. But you’re also a nice person who wants to help people, and you remember Bible verses like “Give to anyone who asks you” (Luke 6:30) and “If anyone is poor…do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them” (Deuteronomy 15:7). So what do you do? What would be most helpful?
The more we assess other people’s worth and value based on how they seem, then the more we start to equate our own worth and value on how we look too. So in our personal lives, how much money, stress, and attention do we give to our looks, fashion, gadgets, car, house, living room, etc., etc.? We work hard to look good, instead of working hard to be good. How different would we be if we instead focused that time and energy on being a good person on the inside instead of looking like a good person on the outside?
We are very blessed to live in a free country, where we are free to worship without fear for our lives. But what if we didn’t? What if we lived in a country where religious minorities suffered abuse and persecution? Most people would just worry about surviving. But is there any way to have an active, effective witness for the love of Christ amidst such hostility? (Hint: YES!)
Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs help turn people’s lives around and keep them pointed in the right direction. They try to help people to keep getting better, take responsibility for themselves, and work to help others change their lives too. That sounds a lot like what the church should be doing too.
The truth of Genesis 1:27 is that we are made “in the image of God.” We forget that sometimes, so it’s good to remind ourselves: we are made in the image of God. (Even early on a Monday morning, if you can believe it.) What we forget even more often, and in fact rarely ever think about at all, is that everybody else is made in the image of God too. So what difference should that make? Well, a lot, actually.
Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). We often paraphrase that into a reminder to have “faith like a child.” So what might that involve? Well kids are wonderfully imaginative, so should we have a more imaginative faith?
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