Recently I read through a stack of World War II-era letters my dad sent to my mother. He was in North Africa and she was in West Virginia. Dad, a second lieutenant in the US Army, was tasked with censoring soldiers’ letters—keeping sensitive information from enemy eyes. So it was rather humorous to see—on the outside of his letters to his wife—a stamp that said, “Censored by 2nd Lt. John Branon.” Indeed, he had cut out lines from his own letters! Self-censoring is really a good idea for all of us. Several times in Scripture, the writers mention the importance of taking a good long look at ourselves to find what’s not right—not God-honoring. The psalmist, for example, prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart . . . . See if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24). Jeremiah put it like this: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40). And Paul, speaking of our heart condition at the time of communion, said, “Everyone ought to examine themselves” (1 Corinthians 11:28). The Holy Spirit can help us turn from any attitudes or actions that don’t please God. So before we head out into the world today, let’s stop and seek the Spirit’s help in doing some self-checking so we can “return to the Lord” in fellowship with Him. By Dave BranonREFLECT & PRAYSearch me, O God, and know my heart. See if there are any changes I need to make today as I seek to know You more and serve You better. How will you pursue healthy spiritual self-examination today? What are two things that come to mind that you could remove to improve your fellowship with God?
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SCRIPTURE INSIGHT Lament is an important concept in the Old Testament and one that was deeply ingrained into the Jewish mindset. The privilege of bringing our deepest hurts, fears, or struggles to a God who cares deeply for our well-being is a remarkable thing. In the Old Testament, these attributes put the God of Israel in stark contrast to the gods of the land. The gods of the ancient Near East were harsh and demanding, so the loving compassion of the true God (Exodus 34:6-7) made Him the perfect person to whom someone could take their heartaches. This certainly rings true with Lamentations. Jeremiah, traditionally believed to be the author, wrote out of a broken heart about the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 bc. This lament consists of five poems, all grieving the desolation of the “city of peace” (the meaning of Jerusalem). Bill Crowder
I had a black and white cat and never cried when she became sick and was suffering. we could not do anything about it to save her, too sick and old. Toby saved her and her brother’s life, Teyla was her name, and Teal’c the male.
when she and old brother Teal’c were a week to 10 days old and a friend and myself fed them with a dropper until they could drink and then eat on their own. she was only 14 years old when she died and was Feral cat whose mom abandoned when a man touched her and her brother.
We then, there were 2 now, I never had a cat before.
one we kept one after she grew some, the other we gave away to Toby’s brother.
I fell in love with my kitten and her loss hurt so much! After her 3 weeks later we hat to put to sleep my beautiful Bell, my Maltese I also had for her a huge sense of loss, a pain that reminded me of what I felt when I lost My German Shepard Lupa many years before.
I had 3 dogs, the first a 6 month old puppy a mix of Wolf I was told and another dog, I was 7 years old was he, Lupo, was killed with a shot gun….a very long sad time for me.
I waited until I was 19 to accept a German Shepherd 12 weeks old puppy that I kept in my big coat poker that winter when my first husband bought for me. her colors reminded me of my beloved Lupo. I called her Lupa in his memory female for Wolf.
Now, I have a rebel mix Yorkie and and Schnauzer 7 pounds big, a rescue dog I paid $250.00 to RESCUE, a designer dog they called him and a, rescue cat a beautiful Himalayan that was 6 years old and now we had for 3 years . The puppy was about 8 months and we decided to adopt about 3 month after the cat. I wanted another Maltese but had no money for it so we thought about adopting just a lesser fortunate dog preferentially a puppy and we did in the person of Tiny that at 7 pound thinks He is a Shepherd.
Well I just wanted to tell you that I love all my pets very much!,
Are you burning out your kids with too many scheduled activities? Are you, like Martha (Luke 10:40), allowing busyness to distract you and your family from what is truly important? These are questions worth asking. Many of today’s parents want their children to experience everything that’s available—motivated in part so that their kids will be able to “compete” with their peers when college scholarships are handed out. Those are laudable intentions. But are all the sports practices, singing lessons, and dance recitals worth the price?
According to recent studies, free time for kids is down to only six hours a week. Moms average more than five car trips a day running errands and chauffeuring their children. Typical of this scene, perhaps, is one Chicago-area mother of four busy children. She admitted recently that her one-year-old was practically being raised in the family minivan. “When he’s not in the van, he’s somewhat disoriented,” she said.
When kids aren’t sure which is home, the house or the family car, something is definitely wrong. Give your children downtime to play, to wonder, to “waste some time,” and to just be kids. Solomon describes the relentless pursuit of knowledge and achievement, when not inspired by God, as “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:16–18; 4:4). We agree.
BEFORE YOU SAY GOOD NIGHT…
Do your kids have free time every day?
Do they enjoy their outside activities? Do you?
What activities might you consider cutting from their schedule?
Slow us down, dear Lord. We’ve been like Martha, worried and distracted, instead of Mary, who spent time at Your feet, enjoying and adoring You. Please change our hearts by Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Amen.
Statistics and illustration from “The Parent Trap,” Newsweek, 29 January 2001; and the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and the Surface Transportation Policy Project of Washington, D.C., as reported by Cox News Service, 26 July 2000.