ANNIE’S JOURNAL by Annie Warner Donnelly
Building a Biblical Framework, Part 1
Have you ever thought about what the Bible says about who we are as individuals?
In John 1:11-13, we read: “… as many as received Him – Jesus – to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
In Romans 8:14, we read “for those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.”
In Matthew 18:1-6, Jesus expanded on what it means to be a child of God: “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.’ ”
In Galatians 3:26, the Apostle Paul who was writing to the adults in the churches of Galatia, also made it clear that age is not a factor in being a child of God when he wrote: “… For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Our identity then is this: no matter how young or old we are, we are children of the living God, created by the hands of a loving Father, redeemed by the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus, and guided and comforted by His Holy Spirit. As God’s children, we are called to love Him with all our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength – and with the same intensity, to love each other.
From these few examples, we see that as children of God, we are to receive and believe Jesus; we are to be led by the Spirit of God; we are to be peacemakers; and we are to humble ourselves as little children.
How can we humble ourselves and love God as we are invited to love Him? How can we stay focussed on the essential elements of our relationship with Jesus when we are in the midst of the evil that surrounds us; the demands that distract us; the relationship issues that sadden us; the inaccurate information we hear about the character of our God?
One way is to build a Biblical Framework that includes: God’s kept promises; stories that illustrate God’s true character; stories about Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; and stories about the testimonies of others.
You may be asking yourself: Why build a Biblical Framework? Join me next time to hear the 1935 story of Boeing’s Model 299 for one good reason. Amen.
Rosie’s Devotions by Rosemary Hagedorn
What Is God Like?
When someone talks about God, do you envision Him as an old man with a long white beard, looking down from heaven and surveying the earth and its inhabitants? Or do you see God as an invisible force, unattainable and unreachable?
Sometimes, we expect God to fit our template, our design, and our thinking. But God is not within our limited, man-made boxes. He is outside and all around us. We seek the God we want, not the God Who is!
The God that I have come to know is a personal God; a God who loves us unconditionally; a God who listens to us and promises to be with us until the end of time; and a God Who sacrificed His one and only-begotten Son so that we may obtain eternal life.
But sometimes, we want God to work fast and on demand without suffering on our part. But God knows us better than we know ourselves. There is a reason that He doesn’t give us what we want. All we need to do is trust in His wisdom and mercy.
Acts 17:22-29 – So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs — for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him — though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.” (NLT)
Revelation 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega — the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come — the Almighty One. (NLT)
What is God like to you?
Prayer: Father in heaven, forgive us for putting things that we idolize ahead of You. Keep our focus on doing Your will and trusting in Your wisdom and guidance. Strengthen us to abide in You, even though the road gets rough and we are confronted with uncertainty. Change our hearts to worship only You, the great I AM. Amen.
Rosemary Hagedorn, Midland, Ontario
Understanding: The Goal of Healthy Communication
When we have children, we are training the next generation of humans. That is a big responsibility to be sure. We are now seeing so much conflict and disharmony from the individual to the global level. We shake our heads in disbelief, but perhaps we should not be so surprised.
The same negative dynamics that play out in the world are similar to what is happening in some families, in our schools, and in our culture. Judging, criticizing, taking sides, and gossiping about others are toxic human behaviours that are incompatible with creating peace.
Getting stuck in one’s ego perspective does not allow for respectful communication or effective problem solving. There is no room for understanding the other. As parents or educators, we can model a different way of communicating that could change those destructive patterns.
For example, sometimes parents feel that in a discussion with their child, the child does not listen, and is argumentative. The irony is the child may have learned poor listening manners from the parents. Parents tend to skip over the part of the communication where the child states his point of view.
This happens for a few reasons 1) we think we already know what the child’s argument will be, 2) we already know what our answer will be, 3) we really do not want to be having the discussion.
Now, imagine you wanted to make a point to your boss, and he or she came to you with the above mind-set, refusing to listen. You know how you would feel. Children get frustrated and either start responding angrily or disrespectfully, or they shut down and do not even bother to discuss things with parents a because: 1) they already know what the parent’s argument will be, 2) they already know what the parent’s answer will be, and 3) they see no point in having the discussion with us. What we have is dead-end communication, so why bother?
The more positive approach is to listen with an open mind. Allow the child plenty of time to state their case. Commend them for the good points they make. Then, gently communicate your point of view.
Take the time to ensure they understand why you think as you do. This way, even if your answer is still no, the child at least feels heard, and that his ideas and feelings are valued. You might even find a compromise. If this happened globally, what a different world it would be. Children learn what they live, so we must be ever conscious of what we are modeling.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.
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