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Church & Family Sep—Oct 2013

A Free Publication Propagating Gospel, and Promoting Christian Education & Ministries around the World.

For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom; Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding. Proverbs 9: 10 1 Church & Family Magazine

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Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Hebrews 13:3

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CONTENTS: Church & Family Sep - Oct 2013

God’s View of Marriage Moody Bible Institute

Publisher

Money and Minstry

Emmanuel Parakati

By Prof. John Koessler

MBA

www.todayintheword.org

Church & Family Church & Family magazine is a FREE family magazine dedicated to provide educational and inspirational reading for the spiritual growth of Christians. Our goal is to propagate Gospel to the World as Jesus commanded us to do so in Matthew 28:19.

I met a Pastor who does not smile By Rev. Dr. Joe McKeever

Copyright ©All rights reserved to Church & Family Media. Published bi-monthly. Church & Family Media does not endorse the products or services of any advertiser in this publication and is not responsible for any claims made in advertisement. Every effort has been made to publish this magazine accurately. Church & Family magazine cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy of the information appearing in this magazine or the complete absence of errors or omissions, which occasionally occur. Should you discover an error, please report it to us promptly. Church & Family magazine assumes no liability for damages arising from errors or omissions in the listings. Picture credits : Microsoft clip art.

The Lord delivers us from bondage By Joshua Daniels

Times & Seasons By Dr. Ray Pritchard

How To Win at the Game of Life By Toni Babcock

Church & Family Acknowledgements: We extend our special thanks to the authors who contributed their articles and also many Christian websites that provided treasure of knowledge to publish this FREE magazine.

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Church & Family Best Books To Read We are happy to present these fantastic resources to assist you in your spiritual growth and Christian life. They are all available on ChristianBook.com and also on Amazon.

Lifelong Love Affair By Jimmy Evans, Frank Martin 240 Pages

One Thousand Gifts By Ann Voskamp 237 Pages

The Sacred Echo By Margaret Feinberg 224 Pages

T

The Bondage Breaker By Neil T. Andersn 308 Pages

Damascus Countdown By Joel C. Rosenberg

Scouting The Devine By Margaret Feinberg 224 Pages

Deep & Wide By Andy Stanley 192 Pages

Jesus Calling By Sarah Young 400 Pages

not a fan By Kyle Idleman 224 Pages

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Church & Family The Song of Songs may be the least

Jesus also noted that the Genesis account indicates God’s design for marriage to be a covenant relationship that lasts between two people until death. Jesus warned, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matt. 19:6). Marriage cannot be redefined by culture without distorting God’s original intent. It is far more than a civil contract or a mere social convenience. As the old wedding service declares, “marriage is a holy estate, ordained of God and to be held in honor by all.”

preached book of the Bible. Solomon’s sensual description of love between a shepherd and a shepherdess has puzzled the church for generations. Is Solomon talking about romance, sex, or spirituality? Some would say all three.

Rulers of his day often married multiple wives for political advantage, and the possession of many wives was a sign of great wealth. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The Bible notes that these liaisons eventually turned Solomon’s heart away from the Lord (1 Some violate this biblical pattern out of ignoKings 11:4). rance. Others do so by willful choice. Either way, God’s Word holds out the hope of forShould we turn to Solomon as an expert on giveness and restoration. The Corinthian belove and marriage? His lievers of the apostle experience may give him God’s View of Marriage Paul’s day lived in an imsomething to say to us moral and sexually conabout the nature of rofused city that was much mance. Certainly the like our own culture. This Holy Spirit’s oversight in congregation included the process of inspiration those who had formerly can give us confidence in practiced sexual immorthe words written in the ality, adultery, and homoSong of Songs. But when sexuality. Through Jesus it comes to biblical marChrist they were able to riage, Solomon’s perfind forgiveness and be sonal example falls short made holy (1 Cor. 6:9– as a guide. 11). You can too. Solomon is not the only one to fall short. Today our own culture is deeply confused in this area. What constitutes true marriage? Does marriage really have to be between a man and a woman? Or is love between any two adult partners all that is needed? Does marriage have to last a lifetime? The Bible answers these questions with unambiguous simplicity in Genesis 1:27–28, when it explains that God created the first couple to be male and female. God’s Word defines the essence of marriage in similar terms when it says that “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is the union of two people of the opposite sex. Jesus affirmed this teaching of Genesis.

With permission from Moody Bible Institute. www.moody.edu. About the Author: Prof. John Koessler serves as chair and professor of pastoral studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of Folly, Grace & Power: The Mysterious Act of Preaching (Zondervan), A Stranger in the House of God (Zondervan) and served as general editor of The Moody Handbook of Preaching (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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Church & Family he "Blahs" By: Dr. James Dobson

us felt we should grow up and leave the game QUOTABLES playing behind. But we may not have matured

From Twitter as much as we'd like to think. In some ways,

https://twitter.com/ChurchFamilyMag QUESTION: My wife and I love each other very our romantic relationships will always bear much, but we're going through a time of apa- some characteristics of adolescent sexuality. thy. We just don't feel close to each other. Is Adults still love the thrill of the chase, the lure of the unattainable, excitement of the new this normal, and is there a way to bring back and boredom with the old. Immature impulses the fire? does and not minimized allow a challenge are God controlled in a committed Prayer will make man cease to come into our lives unless relationship, of course, but they never fully ANSWER:from This happens or later sin. Sin sooner will make manin He has a divine purpose for it. every marriage.cease A manfrom and prayer. woman just seem disappear. to lose the wind in their romantic sails for a period of time. Adrian Rogers

Pastor John This could help you keepHagee vitality in your marwww.JHM.org riage. When things have grown stale between you and your spouse, maybe you should remember some old tricks. How about breakfast in bed? A kiss in the rain? Or re-reading those old love letters together? A night in a nearby hotel? Roasting marshmallows by an open fire? A phone call in the middle of the day? A long-stem red rose and a love note? There are When love our hearts, dozens of Christ's ways to fill thefills sails with wind once it puts selfishness on the run. more. If it all sounds a little immature to act like a teenager again, just keep this in mind: In Billy Graham the best marriages, the chase is never really over. Www.BillyGraham.org

Love Worth Finding Ministries Their plight reminds me of seamen back in the www.LWF.org days of wooden vessels. Sailors in that era had much to fear, including pirates, storms, and diseases. But their greatest fear was that the ship might encounter the Doldrums. The Doldrums was an area of the ocean near the Be the best by you canand be very rightlight equator characterized calm are,mean and God willdeath openfor shiftingwhere winds.you It could certain up supernatural doors of opportuthe entire crew. The ship's food and water nity. supply would be exhausted as they drifted for days, or even weeks, waiting for a breeze to Osteen put them back onJoel course. www.JoelOsteen.com Well, marriages that were once exciting and loving can also get caught in the romantic doldrums, causing a slow and painful death to the relationship. Author Doug Fields, in his book Creative Romance, writes, "Dating and romancing your spouse can change those patterns, and it canletbethe a lot of fun. There's no Don't fear of failure prevent you from trying. Put your but quick fix to a stagnant marriage, of course, confidence in Christ. you can lay aside the excuses and begin to date your sweetheart." In fact, you might Joyce want to try thinking like aMayers teenager again. Let me explain.www.JoyceMayer.com

QUESTION: Tell me why it is inevitable for couples with good marriages to go through "flat spots" or "the blahs," and can you offer mmore advice about what to do when those times come? Acknowledge Him as the Source ANSWER: Romantic love is an emotion, of everything you receive. Thank and as such,Him it has a way coming and going. daily forof what He has done Emotions tend to will oscillate high to low to and do infrom the future. high, etc. One of the best ways to regenerate "that lovin' feeling" the down times is to T.D. in Jakes talk about the time and place when passion www.TDJakes.org ran high. Do you recall those days when you Recall for a moment the craziness of your dat- just couldn't wait to see each other, and how each minute away seemed like an eternity? ing days—the coy attitudes, the flirting, the RRecalling those moments together is one fantasies, the chasing after the prize. As we moved from courtship into marriage, most of way to regenerate what you felt before. 6 Church & Family Magazine

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Church & Family

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Church & Family responsibility. In both 1 Timothy 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 9:9 Paul appealed to Old Testament law to support his assertion Scripture admonishes those who serve as that those who preach and teach ought to shepherds of God’s flock not to be “greedy receive a generous honorarium, applying for money” (1 Peter 5:2). Jesus warned of an aphorism from Deuteronomy 25:4 to the “hired hand” who “cares nothing for the argue from the lesser to the greater. If the ox who serves the farmer deserves to eat, sheep” (John 10:12–13). Passages like these seem to imply that money and min- how much more must this be true of the elder who directs the affairs of the church? istry are incompatible. Should those who serve Christ be concerned about their salThis language implies a ary? mutual obligation. Those who serve God’s people Jesus condemned the must direct the affairs of mentality of the “hired the church well. The hand,” but He also afchurch should expect the firmed the idea of eqhighest quality of workuitable compensation manship from its minisfor those who minister ters. In return the church when He told His disis obligated to treat its ciples: “the worker is servants generously. In worth his keep” (Matt. summary, the rule that 10:10). The apostle applies to the Christian Paul quoted Jesus’ “worker” is the same one statement in his which applies to the emguidelines for the reployee who happens to muneration of those be a Christian: “Whatever you do, work at who serve as elders in the church, substiit with all your heart, as working for the tuting the term wage for keep (1 Tim. Lord, not for men, since you know that you 5:17–18). In his letter to the Corinthians, will receive an inheritance from the Lord Paul also described the church’s support of its ministers as a “right” (1 Cor. 9:4, 12). as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23–24). Although Paul chose not to take advantage of his own right of support in Corinth, Source: www.todayintheword.org. With permishe made it clear it should be the biblical sion from Moody Bible Institute. norm for those who serve God’s flock.

Money and Ministry

Prof. John Koessler serves as chair and professor of pastoral studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of Folly, Grace & Power: The Mysterious Act of Preaching (Zondervan), A Stranger in the House of God (Zondervan) and served as general editor of The Moody Handbook of Preaching (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

When Paul states that those who “direct the affairs of the church well” are worthy of “double honor” in 1 Timothy 5:17, he implies that the church’s standard of recompense should be correlated with the amount of work required of the leader. All elders share the responsibility of directing the affairs of the church, but not all have preaching and teaching as their primary 8

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Church & Family Thank You Habit—A Kay to Overflowing Joy “It is good to say thank you to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods.” Psalms 92:1-2. A thankful heart can change the whole way you see the life because it fills your heart with joy and satisfaction. It is a flood gate opener to more blessings, joy and peace. With a thankful heart, we can please the heart of God by praising and worshiping Him. Usually we don’t get into the habit of saying thanks or appreciating God’s blessings without conscious effort. Parents need to teach their children to thank God everyday for all the blessings He has poured upon us and to other people whenever there is get an opportunity. When parents remind kids to say thank you, and when kids are remember that everyone benefits from expressing gratitude to God. In addition to having one person pray for the meal, let each person mention a blessing for which he o she is thankful to God.

Music of the Month (Available at Family Christian Store:

FamilyChristian.com or Amazon.com)

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Church & Family

I met a pastor who does not smile. By Rev. Dr. Joe McKeever

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy….” (Galatians 5:22) “Now, look me in the eye and give me a smile. I want to see your teeth.” That’s my typical request of whoever is sitting before me for a quick sketch. If they hesitate, I explain that everyone looks better with a smile on their face, that a smile lifts the sagging face, changes the shape of the jawline, and adds a gleam to the eye. “I don’t smile.” Usually, the one saying this is an insecure teenager who has been warned off smiling by the mirror, an unkind friend, or a critic. That’s one thing that pulls me onto middle and high school campuses, to do my program and try to get across to them that “there is not a person on the earth who does not look better with a smile on their face, including you.” One man told me, “My grandmother told me when I was fifteen that I did not have a nice smile. I went twenty years without smiling.” I said, “What a mean old lady.” We can understand teenagers having esteem problems that often make them withdraw and want to hide. But a pastor? More than once, I have been drawing at denominational gatherings where most of the subjects are pastors. And I confess to being knocked speechless by those who say, “I don’t smile.” If they have time and are not rushed, I’ll speak to that. I say to them…. 1) “You are a pastor and you don’t smile?” (Continued on page 11)

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Church & Family 2) The very idea. Why would a pastor of a church, a God-called shepherd of a flock of the Lord’s people, not turn his best face to the world and radiate the love of the Lord? What happened to his smile? Usually, he mumbles some kind of an explanation: “I’m just not a smiler.” “I feel fine and I love people, but I just don’t smile.” “I’m smiling on the inside.” I am well aware… –that pastors are not immune to self-esteem problems. They are normal. –that some pastors have been heavily influenced by critics (or misguided friends) who told them they should remain grave and humorless. –and, that some pastors simply have poor mental health. This is a matter of serious concern. If anyone in the church should have great mental health–sound judgment, proper self-esteem, etc.–it’s the shepherd, the role model for the flock. 2) “Everyone looks better when they smile. Even you.” When presenting my program on self-esteem to schools, in order to make this point, I ask the students to study my face when I’m looking solemn. “And, now watch what happens,” I tell them, as I begin to smile. My face lifts upward, my cheeks fill out, and my eyes gleam. The transformation is rather remarkable. And that’s true for every one of us. You too, pastor. I have sketched perhaps a hundred thousand people in my long life. But to date, I have drawn no one whose appearance is not improved when they smile. And who among us does not want to improve his appearance? 3) “You can make yourself smile. Try it.” A number of years ago when the church I pastored telecast their Sunday services on live television, I would do a short intro to the service from the foyer, greeting the audience and inviting them to stay with us. Once, during a playback, I was stunned to see how solemn and even morose my face looked. In my mind, I was smiling. But the camera does not lie. And I made a discovery that day: I had to consciously make an effort to put a smile on my face. Any of us can do that. Why should we? For a hundred reasons, chief among them being that we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ who promised that we might have life and have it abundantly, that the joy 11 Church & Family Magazine

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Church & Family of the Lord would be our strength, and that the one, and I do recommend that for starters. But peace of Heaven would guard our hearts in the ideal is for the Lord to put His joy in your Christ Jesus! heart, His light in your eyes, and His smile on your face. And that is the real thing! Bob Anderson, retired pastor, told our seminary family one day in chapel, “We know Je- Now, the next time I see you, I hope to see a sus was a happy person because children loved genuine, heart-felt smile radiating back at to be around him, and children do not like to me. If so, whether I say it or not, what I’ll be be around unhappy people.” thinking is, “How beautiful you look!” That’s enough to cause any pastor to wear a smile!

Really.

About the Author: Dr. Joe McKeever was called into the ministry in 1961 at West End Baptist Church in Birmingham; earned master of theology and doctor of ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological In one of the Psalms, David calls the Lord “the Seminary. After five years as Director of MisHelper of my countenance.” sions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, We might go so far as to say the Lord is the 2009. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferbest beauty treatment there is! ences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Vsit his website is: I have seen a beauty makeover right before my www.joemckeever.com/wp/ eyes as a burdened, troubled person knelt with me and prayed to give her heart to Christ. When she rose to her feet, she was beaming. The burden was gone, the guilt was erased, and in their place light was emanating. The person From Dry Bone to Life was absolutely radiant. 4) “Now, ask the Lord to put a permanent and genuine smile on your face. Ask Him again and again, and begin believing Him.”

God took Ezekiel to a valley full of old, dry bones and when Ezekiel spoke to them following God’s commandments, they turned into living, breathing human beings. (Ezekiel 37: 1-14). Ezekiel learned that these bones were just like the nation of Israel who were spiritually dead, but God wanted to bring them back to life. God still does miracles like this even today. He can take people who are spiritually dead and bring them back to life when they trust in Jesus. Pray for your friends, relatives and neighbors who don’t know Jesus, because God is eager to bring them back to life. Jesus is life (John 6:48) and without Him our lives are dead and are like dead bones.

I love to quote the fellow who was asked if he thought Jesus ever laughed. “I don’t know whether He laughed or not, my friend. But He sure fixed me up so I could!” As He did you. And, as you know, it’s impossible to laugh without smiling. Sometimes, when I’m drawing kids and ask them to smile so I can get them looking their best, they (or a bystander) will say, “It’s a fake smile.” I reply that that’s all right, that I’m only a cartoonist and can’t tell the difference. There is a difference however. The difference in the space between point 3 and 4. In point 3, you are making yourself smile. You can force 12

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The Lord Delivers Us from Bondage By Joshua Daniels

‘I

am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. Thus saith the

LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters’ (Isaiah 43:1516). This is how the Lord describes Himself. To be the redeemer of the people of Israel, His specially chosen people, the Lord had a way for them right through the sea. He showed that Pharaoh of Egypt was no longer their king. When Pharaoh was their king, they had to bear a great burden. They were under hard taskmasters. They wanted deliverance. The devil knows the areas in which he can oppress us with the maximum pain. He does not normally inflict pain which is easy to bear. He creates pain and oppression in that area where you are most pained, thereby inflicting huge loss and damage. Who is a redeemer? One who delivers you in that area where you are a captive. Certain thoughts are very strong. Oh, you put them out of your mind but they come back again. They chase you. They persist in pursuing you. You cannot run away from them. You may cross the oceans but the thoughts are still there. The devil oppresses many people with wrong thoughts. They are weakened. So there is no rest for them. That is not the work of God. God's thoughts are strengthening, ennobling and freeing. Very often we do not see the difference between our thoughts and God's thoughts, because of the spirit of perversity. That is why the Bible says, ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man’ (Proverbs 14:12). You say, ‘My thought is right!’, ‘My plan is right!’, ‘My ways are right!’ No! No! You must know how to go to God, who searches your heart and weighs your spirit, to know whether this is a perverse spirit or the spirit of God. This perverse spirit can be a very strong spirit. It can afflict the whole family. It seems to afflict father, mother, sons and daughters. It makes it impossible to see what (Continued on page 15)

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Church & Family is right and what is wrong. The spirit of perversity is always to be found wherever there is idolatry. This perverse spirit is also found where Christians make an idol of something. I can detect this spirit very well. The Word of God tells us that the Lord delivered them from all their oppressions. But Israel’s nature of grumbling was still persisting for forty years. There remained in Israel the spirit of unbelief in the face of daily miracles for forty long years. But the Lord was trying to make a way for them. Right from the start, it was a way in the wilderness. When they came out of Egypt, they came against the sea. When you come against a forest, you ask somebody, ‘Is there a path through this?’ But when you stand by the shore of a mighty sea, you never ask such a question. But God says, ‘I am the LORD . . . ' and He makes ‘a path in the mighty waters’. When you see the mighty waters before you, you tend to get fearful. I do not think that in the Christian life there is ever a person who does not confront mighty waters at some time or other. I look to the One who alone can make this path. To many of you in your personal lives there may be the desire for sanctification. But somehow, it is slipping away. Somehow you seem to fail. Some evil thoughts still prevail. Some anger, some wicked and covetous desire, some bitterness or some lust is lurking somewhere in the heart. The mighty waters are before you. But what does God say to you? ‘I am the Lord,’ the One who ‘maketh . . . a path in the mighty waters’. Maybe you are despairing about your condition. No, these mighty waters are going to divide by a clear path of victory. Joshua Daniel Laymen;s Evangelical Fellowship International www.LEFI.org

Trust in God, Pray About Everything, Worry About Nothing.

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Times and Seasons By Dr. Ray Pritchard Keep Believing Ministries

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. - Ecclesiastes 3:2-3 The meaning of the above verses is transparent: In this changing world, nothing stays the same. We move from one thing to another: from joy to sorrow, from war to peace and back to war again. We search for a while, then we give up. We are silent, then we speak; then we are silent again. We love and we hate-and we do it over and over again. We are born, we grow up, we give birth; our children grow up, they give birth. We die, our children die, and our grandchildren grow up and give birth. That’s what life is all about. It is part of God’s plan. Some of these things we do ourselves and some are sent to us by God Himself. But they all fit into His plan. No one scatters stones all the time and no one gathers all the time (see verse 5). Consider how this applies to the marriage relation-ship. If you stay married long enough, you will see it all. Everything that can happen will happen. Any couple married more than twenty years can testify to this fact. There is indescribable joy and the deepest sorrow. There is hatred and there is love. There is birth and there is death. There is success and there is failure-often back-to-back. All these things have their place and if you stay together long enough, you will see them all. I remembered this truth when I attended the wake for a dear friend who died of cancer. About fifty people were in the room when I arrived. As I walked to the cas-ket to pay my respects, I passed several good friends who were chatting together. There she was-resting in the cas-ketand not five feet away the young people were talk-ing about cars and sports and their jobs and smiling to each other. Life and death were eerily juxtaposed against each other. (Continued on page 17)

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Church & Family Were the others being disrespectful? No, they loved my friend as much as I did. But life goes on. Even in the midst of sorrow, those who remain speak of life. Later that evening a young couple came by with a baby barely two weeks old. There it was, plain as day, right in front of my eyes, life and death in the same room. Joy and sorrow. Hope and sadness. Yesterday and tomorrow all mixed to-gether, all happening at once. Someone dies and we weep. Another person is born and we rejoice. That’s what Solomon was talking about. In this ever-changing world, God alone can give meaning to life; He alone does not change. He directs the jumbled events that seem to have no rhyme or reason. So cling to this truth: God is in charge and does not change, and He makes no mistakes. My God, You are the Lord of the changing seasons of life. Without You I could hardly face tomorrow; but as long as You are with me I will have no fear. Amen. Author: Dr. Ray Pritchard serves as president of Keep Believing Ministries. He has ministered extensively overseas in China, Bolivia, Columbia, Paraguay, Belize, Haiti, Nigeria, Switzerland, Russia, India and Nepal. He is a frequent conference speaker and guest on Christian radio and television talk shows. For 26 years he pastored churches in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Most recently he pastored Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL for sixteen years. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and Talbot School of Theology (D.Min.). Visit: www.keepbelieving.com and support “Keep Believing Ministries”.

Family Devotions We all know that all good things cost something. Skills are developed through hard work, conscious effort and planning. Christian living comes from disciplined Bible study, prayer and worship. We need to teach our children to know God and pray every day to keep connected with God. Devotions should be the times of peace and delight to communicate with God. Make family devotions regular. Devotions are worth it. Having family devotions helps members to get connected with each other as well with God. Having family devotions certainly make us better followers of Christ and better Christians. In addition, we need to remember that through family devotions, we invite Christ into our hearts and homes. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20.

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Church & Family How to Win at the Game of Life By Toni Babcock Nobody likes to feel like they have “dropped the ball”. Most of us feel like we were put here for a reason, and we’d like to feel like we’re doing a good job at it. At home, at school, or on the job, if you’re like me you want to live up to other’s expectations. But as you also know nobody is perfect, and sometimes we fail to live up to what people expect of us, or even up to our own expectations. There is a game we humans play that protects us from the shame we feel for ever having dropped the ball. I call it Folly Ball. Maybe you can relate to it. It goes like this: Someone points out an area in your life where you have dropped the ball. You feel shame. You feel targeted. You feel like this person has become your opponent; like they have become your self-righteous critic. So you pick up the ball (I call it the shame/blame ball) and you spike it back at your opponent. Now you are the critic. AhhhNthat feels better. As the critic, you proceed to point out where your opponent has dropped the ball. Let them feel what it is like to be judged, you think to yourself. Let them feel the shame of having dropped the ball. They have no right to judge. Now the folly ball is in their court. Sound familiar? The fact is, we cannot win and influence people for any good thing by tossing the shame/blame ball back and forth. Nobody wins at this game. Not you, not your opponent, not God. The good news is, God has shown us in the Bible how we can win at life and not get trapped in the game of Folly Ball. God is actually the one holding the ball. He took our shame and our blame upon himself when He died for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to play “Folly Ball” anymore. He rose from the dead, defeating sin, death and hell on our behalf, and now has the power to give us a new life based on His unbeatable game plan of faith, hope, and love. Here (Continued on page 19)

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Church & Family is how it works: God’s word declares “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. (Romans 8:2 KJV). What does this mean? It means when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he stands between us and the punishment we deserve for breaking God’s Laws. So why did God give the Ten Commandments? God gave us His Ten Commandments to show us we are sinners. We would feel no need for Jesus if we were not convinced of that! If we were perfect and righteous in ourselves, we wouldn’t need the Ten Commandments to instruct us. But the reality is God’s laws were written for people like us; people who sometimes break the rules; people who need Jesus because they know they are not perfect. People like you and me. God wants us to trust him to save us from sin and death. He calls on us to turn away from our sin and receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith. In John 1:11-13 we read, “He came unto his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” God himself transforms us into his child when he convinces us of our need of him and causes us to believe on Him and receive Him into our life. If God has caused you to believe on Him and receive Jesus Christ into your life, then give God the praise, and share Jesus with someone else you know needs Him. About the Author: Toni M. Babcock is a freelance Christian writer from South St. Paul, Minnesota. She enjoys writing short stories for children and young adults, as well as memoirs, poetry and spiritual essays.

Toni M. Babcock's book The Stone Writer has been recently published as a Kindle e-book on www.Amazon.com. The e-book is currently selling at $2.99. The Stone Writer is a collection of short stories in two parts; young readers and teens. Each story weaves a thought provoking Christian theme in a fun or engaging way.

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