Let love be genuine. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
— Romans 12.9a-10.
I think we’d all agree we need closer families, especially in this day and age. What are some things you can do to promote good feelings and more love in your home?
Honor them with your time. Everyone is busy. In some families, kids have just as demanding schedules as their parents. Each member of the family must prioritize and set aside time to be together with each other. If not, everyone can become disconnected and relationships will suffer. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by eating a meal together. Make it happen and ensure it is free of outside interference so you can focus on what matters most: your family.
Honor them by listening. Sometimes, we need to talk things out. You can build trust, love, and affection by simply listening to others. Multitasking during times of communication leads to a breakdown in listening. Give your family members your undivided attention. You’ll be amazed at how your relationships can improve.
Honor them through acts of service. Be attentive to the needs of others. Do your share of work around your home. Gladly and generously help with the chores of others who may be having a busy week. Do all of this, expecting nothing in return. Acts of service are never about keeping score.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never ends, 1 Corinthians 13.4-8a.
Don’t put these things off. Make them a priority. You’ll be thankful later for what you’re building today. — Matthew Allen
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
- 1 Peter 2.9-10
Christians are a special people, set aside by God for special purposes. We have an amazing new identity in Christ. Because God wants us to spend eternity glorifying Him, we have been forgiven from sin and become sanctified. Now we live for God. It has been said that Christianity is the process of becoming what you are. God has made us new, 2 Corinthians 5.17. Because of this, we work each day toward living in the light. We recognize our holy identity and seek to live up to our position. This is why sin is such a disaster in our life. It defies everything about the new life which we have been given by God.
How can we make living in the light more practical?
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, James 4.8. In other words, we need to cultivate a relationship of intimacy with Christ. This will control our conduct.
Become more vulnerable. It does little good to hide our sin. God sees our life and our sin is obvious. So, we need to become more honest about our weaknesses and shortcomings. We need to seek help from spiritual mentors who will hold us accountable and encourage us to persevere. Learn to see and take advantage of the blessings your spiritual family and godly shepherds provide.
Totally surrender. We must get things in the open with God before any healing will take place. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it, Mark 8.34-35.
Day by day, we walk with God. We, who are in Jesus, should be filled with gratefulness and inspired to faithfulness. May we live out a life of gratitude filled with thanksgiving.
— Matthew Allen
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3.14-15
It was William Barclay who said, in his writing, “A Christian is a person lost in wonder, love, and praise, at what God has done for him, and aflame with passion to tell others what God can do for them.” Timothy’s family had an incredible legacy of faith. The New Testament gives us just a few snapshots of the life of Lois and Eunice. Timothy’s mother and grandmother had a passion for God, a contagious faith, which they shared with others. The commitment in communicating the gospel started at home. Through faith and devotion to God, they reared a godly man who had a wonderful reputation, Acts 16.2.Timothy became a Christian and served God faithfully side by side with the Apostle Paul.
How can you build a legacy of faith?
Start by building a genuine faith, 2 Timothy 1.5. Genuine faith is real. It goes down deep. It touches life in every dimension, Deuteronomy 6.6-9.
Add consistency, 2 Timothy 1.5. Genuine faith has staying power and performance. Faith dwelt in Lois and Eunice, regardless of the circumstances. Parents, live your life so that your children learn about faith - in good times and bad.
Mix in passion for God, 2 Timothy 3.14-15. Lois and Eunice could not keep quiet about God. As soon as Timothy was old enough, they began pumping faith into him. Always take advantage of open doors to talk about Jesus.
Move with confidence, 2 Timothy 1.1. Faith is the “promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” This is absolute faith that comes by a life centered on Jesus. No matter what happens, Christians can count on living eternally with God.
It is a great privilege to lead others to Christ. It is done in day to day life, consistency in speech, and prayer.
— Matthew Allen
What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
— 2 Timothy 2.2
The giving of our lives in the service of others is the greatest of all rewards. Christian character and biblical understanding must be invested in those around us. Here, in 2 Timothy, Paul instructs his trusted companion to pass on the life of faith.
The word “mentor” is bantered about these days and when we use the word, we are usually speaking of someone who functions to some extent as a father figure. We’re describing a person who fundamentally affects and influences the development of another, usually younger, person. The concept is not without biblical precedent, Titus 2.1-2; 1 Timothy 3.2. It has been said that mentors nurture our souls and shape our character, training us to be complete, whole, and holy.
Consider the principle of Proverbs 27.17: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Our lives are best sharpened when rubbed up against the lives of others. Every person has the capability to help someone else grow in their faith.
So as you give consideration to your spiritual life today, take a look at the Kettering family. Who is shaping your life? Be sure to thank them. More importantly, whose life are you shaping? There are so many opportunities to serve. Get involved in our Bible class program. (Schedules for 2020 are being set now.) You can make a positive impact on the generations to come. Another idea is to pick out three persons you don’t know well and be intentional in trying to get to know them better. Take them out to lunch. Let them know you’re praying for them. Look for some way to do an act of kindness. Who is a young person you can get to know better? What is an activity you could do for them outside of the building? How could you be an encouragement to their parents?
Paul wrote, therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5.11. Keep up the good work that you’re already doing. Excel even more.
— Matthew Allen
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
- 1 Timothy 6.6–8
Contentment describes a person who is not primarily concerned with obtaining "things." The word means self sufficiency. Ancient Greeks used this expression to describe a person who was unmoved by external circumstances. Contentment does not come from the quantity of our material possessions. There is no end to the things we may want. God is the source of our contentment. Will we make spiritual needs our primary concern in life? If we have the necessities of life (food, clothing, and shelter), we should be content.
How can we become more content while living in midst of a very materialistic society?
- Find Confidence in God’s Providence. Everything is in God’s hands. He is sovereign. He orders everything for His purposes. All things work after the counsel of His will, Romans 8.28. We are not in control of everything. God is and we must trust that He will order events to meet our needs. You will never experience true contentment until you trust that the Sovereign God is ordering everything for your good and His glory.
- Be Satisfied with Little. “Things” are a consuming passion for many people. Refuse to let the culture dictate what you need to consider yourself happy and successful. Our purpose is not to live for personal satisfaction. It is to live for the glory of God.
- Gain Independence from Circumstances. Bad circumstances often rob us of contentment and happiness. We can learn to be the same in any and every circumstance, Philippians 4.11b. Apply the principles found in Colossians 3.1-2; 1 Peter 4.12-14, 16 and 2 Corinthians 4.16-5.1 and you will find success here.
- Remember You are Sustained by Divine Power. No matter how hard your life is, you are sustained by a spiritual undergirding. We are sufficient only through Christ, Galatians 2.20. We are strong enough to go through any thing because of the One who infuses His strength in us, Ephesians 6.10. Isaiah gives us hope: He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40.29, 31.
Where is your primary focus? Are you content with the blessings God has given you?
— Matthew Allen