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A HIGHER PRIORITY

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 21
 
Romans 8:14 
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God
 
Two significant events in my life brought into clear focus the priority of relationship over achievement. Before being called into the ministry, I worked as an aerospace engineer on the Apollo program. I will never forget the day the lunar lander touched down on the moon. This bold headline dominated the front page of the Minneapolis Star : “Neil Armstrong Lands on the Moon.” It was an achievement I was proud to be part of.
 
But the really big news came months earlier on page 7 in the third section: “Heidi Jo Anderson, born to Mr. and Mrs. Neil Anderson, Northwestern Hospital, March 12, 1969.” That may not sound like big news to you, but it was to her mother and me. Heidi totally took over my den and captured an entire shelf in the refrigerator. She altered our sleeping pattern and restricted our social calendar. But she was ours to hold, to hug and to care for.
 
What does God care about moon shots? They are deeds to be outdone. Somebody will always come along and do it better, faster and higher. What God cares about is little people like Heidi Jo Anderson because they will be with Him forever.
 
The second significant event in my life was receiving my first doctoral degree. But it turned out to be one of the most anticlimactic days of my life. I heard no applause from heaven, and I don’t believe my achievement added so much as an asterisk to my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I was a child of God before that day and I was still a child of God afterward.
 
But what happens in heaven when one sinner repents? Applause! Why? Because a relationship with God is eternal, while earthly achievements last only for time. Have you sacrificed the eternal to gain the temporal? Have you ignored personal and spiritual relationships in your pursuit of human achievements? Relationships must always have a higher priority than temporal achievements.
 
Prayer: Lord, amidst the busyness of my schedule and clutter of my possessions, help me cherish and nurture my relationships today.

 


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CHILDREN NEED MODELS

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 14
 
Luke 6:40 
A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher
 
Your children need to see how you handle failure even more than how you handle success. If you make a mistake, you need to own up to it and ask forgiveness if the situation calls for it. If you don’t model how to deal with your own fleshly responses, how are they going to learn how to own up to their mistakes and resolve them biblically?
 
One Sunday morning my daughter wasn’t ready when I wanted to leave for church. I fumed about it until I exploded with anger. After the service I was about to say grace before a meal when I felt the convicting hand of God weighing heavily upon me. I stopped and asked my family to forgive me for my outburst of anger. I didn’t confess my daughter’s tardiness because it wasn’t my responsibility. Nor did I ask their forgiveness in hopes that my daughter would own up to her tardiness. I asked their forgiveness because my outburst of anger was a deed of the flesh. I had to ask forgiveness to be right with God myself.
 
You never lose esteem in your child’s eyes when you do what God requires you to do. You gain esteem because you are an honest person, and in the process you are modeling what they need to do when they blow it. Children need models, not critics. Modeling is what establishes our credibility to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
 
Prayer: Lord, help me model a life of obedience and honesty before my children and others who look to me as an example. And when I fail, give me grace to admit my mistakes and resolve my conflicts.


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Our Most Important Assignment

By Neil Anderson

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

December 23

1 Timothy 5:8 
If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever
 
When love is used as a verb in the Bible, it requires the lover to meet the needs of the one being loved. Love must be given away. God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16). The corollary to John 3:16 is 1 John 3:16-18: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. . . . Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
 
The essence of love is meeting needs, and our most important assignment from God is to meet the needs of those who are closest to us (1 Timothy 5:8). We tend to use the people closest to us instead of meeting their needs. So the busy homemaker is out resolving everybody else’s child-rearing problems but her own. The pastor is available to everyone but his wife and children. And the executive will work overtime to solve company problems while ignoring needs at home.
 
Take an inventory of your family’s needs. I’m not talking about the external needs like clothing, education and food. I’m talking about gut-level needs that determine their sense of worth and belonging. When was the last time you hugged your child and told him you loved him? Have you noticed good character qualities in your spouse and pointed them out? If all you ever point out is physical qualities or achievements, your family members will base their worth on how well they perform and look instead of developing character. Do you regularly reinforce good behavior, or do you only notice the poor behavior? When your child does something nice, do you thank him? Does your child know that he is loved and valued from the way you talk to him?
 
Love can’t be separated from action. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). If you love your family members, follow through with loving words and deeds.
 
Prayer: Lord, keep me from looking beyond the needs of those who are closest to me and from using my loved ones for my own purposes.


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Abandoning Perfection

Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of Ken Myers, you can learn more about him at the end of this article.

perfect

Jesus said “Be Perfect” (Matt 5:48 and 19:21). Given what Jesus said, you may wonder why this piece is entitled “Abandoning Perfection.” Let’s delve into that more and consider a demon that many kids, adolescents and even adults battle with every day: perfectionism. You see, the pursuit of perfection as a Christian is not the same as the pursuit of perfection of the fleshor of selfish goals (what the world might consider to be perfect).

Far too often we chase after worldly goals, whether it is getting the first chair in band, making the varsity sports team, or being the next big Internet sensation making billions off of creating the latest fad website. There isn’t anything wrong with those goals per se, however we do start to encounter problems when we put those worldly goals ahead of literally everything else, including friends, family, and most importantly our faith.

So what does Jesus mean when he calls us to “Be Perfect”? Given that God alone is perfect and Jesus was the example of that perfection in human form, it’s a lot less like perfectionism as WE know it and a whole lot more like “follow my lead and do the best you can to grow in the pursuit of your faith.”The challenge is for us to not put anything before that and to make sure that our faith always remains our top priority.

As a small business owner, this is a constant challenge. Instead of spending time with family, you might try to knock out a couple more contracts or make just one more phone call. Have you ever skipped a church meeting, service or Bible study to get one more thing done at the office? While you may need to do that on occasion out of necessity, you still need to make sure that you set aside time to pursue the goal of being more like Jesus. Sometimes that means abandoning perfection in another area of your life to make progress toward the goals Jesus set for us.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

 


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MANAGING OUR PROBLEMS

By Neil Anderson

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

September 3

1 Timothy 3:4
[An overseer] must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity

A pastor friend of mind came face-to-face with a parent’s worst fear: His teenage daughter had become pregnant before marriage. Perry was struggling with prickly questions: Should he resign his pastorate? Should he encourage an abortion to cover his embarrassment and save face? Should he put her on the pill to avoid future problems?

I reminded him, “The primary goal for your life–to be the father and husband that God wants you to be–has not been blocked by this unfortunate event. If there was ever a time that your wife needed a godly, committed husband and your daughter a loving, supportive father, it’s now.”

“But, Neil, what about being the pastor God wants me to be?” Perry argued. “Doesn’t this disqualify me from being a pastor?”

I directed him to one of the requirements for an elder in 1 Timothy 3:4, 5: managing his household well and keeping his children under control. I said, “Even the best managers in the world have problems; they just know how to manage them. You didn’t instruct your daughter to sleep with her boyfriend. That was a sinful decision she made. How are you going to manage your home now for the good of the family? Instructing your daughter to get an abortion so you can save face is mismanagement. Kicking her out of the house is mismanagement. But standing by your daughter, comforting your wife, walking in the light, and speaking the truth in love is managing your household well.”

Spiritual leaders face the same temptations and difficulties other Christians do; they just face them in a fishbowl and their struggles are more visible. It’s not a lack of problems that determines the quality of our ministry, but how we handle the problems we have.

Prayer: Lord, I want to walk in the light even in problem situations. Help me face the difficulties of my life and seek Your way of resolution.


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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.Ephesians 6:4 (MSG)

Happy Father’s Day to every one you…who are fathers!

Being a father is the most important responsibility we have, and one of the hardest jobs we will ever do. To truly be effective as a Godly father, we must submit ourselves to God first and lead our children in His Way and His Word; this way we will leave a greater legacy that any trust fund! Place your trust in God to help you to do it well!

Have a blessed day!

A Father’s Love

A father is respected because
He gives his children leadership…
Appreciated because
He gives his children care…
Valued because
He gives his children time…
Loved because
He gives his children the one thing
they treasure most – himself.

—Unkown

 


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A HIGHER PRIORITY

by Neil Anderson

January 21

 
Romans 8:14 
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God
 
Two significant events in my life brought into clear focus the priority of relationship over achievement. Before being called into the ministry, I worked as an aerospace engineer on the Apollo program. I will never forget the day the lunar lander touched down on the moon. This bold headline dominated the front page of the Minneapolis Star : “Neil Armstrong Lands on the Moon.” It was an achievement I was proud to be part of.
 
But the really big news came months earlier on page 7 in the third section: “Heidi Jo Anderson, born to Mr. and Mrs. Neil Anderson, Northwestern Hospital, March 12, 1969.” That may not sound like big news to you, but it was to her mother and me. Heidi totally took over my den and captured an entire shelf in the refrigerator. She altered our sleeping pattern and restricted our social calendar. But she was ours to hold, to hug and to care for.
 
What does God care about moon shots? They are deeds to be outdone. Somebody will always come along and do it better, faster and higher. What God cares about is little people like Heidi Jo Anderson because they will be with Him forever.
 
The second significant event in my life was receiving my first doctoral degree. But it turned out to be one of the most anticlimactic days of my life. I heard no applause from heaven, and I don’t believe my achievement added so much as an asterisk to my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I was a child of God before that day and I was still a child of God afterward.
 
But what happens in heaven when one sinner repents? Applause! Why? Because a relationship with God is eternal, while earthly achievements last only for time. Have you sacrificed the eternal to gain the temporal? Have you ignored personal and spiritual relationships in your pursuit of human achievements? Relationships must always have a higher priority than temporal achievements.
 
Prayer: Lord, amidst the busyness of my schedule and clutter of my possessions, help me cherish and nurture my relationships today.


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I won’t sing that!

How are you at compromise?

In the world in which we live, we are taught from an early age that compromise is good.

We learn from a very early age that we can’t always have what we want or when we want it.

When, we as children, argued with our siblings maybe over toys or whatever, generally we had pointed out to us the need to compromise, maybe take turns – you have it today and whoever has it tomorrow – so that placates our desire to be the No 1 and we learnt to share, to give in, to compromise.

So we live our lives – well most of us anyway – prepared to compromise – prepared to share – prepared to give in when appropriate – and in that way life can go along pretty smoothly.

There is one area in our lives though that demands there is, never will be and never should be compromise!

We can never compromise our Lord and Saviour – Jesus said I am the Way the Truth and the Life – no one comes to the Father except through me – no compromise here!

There is no other way to get to God – not by doing good or being ‘holy’.

Jesus also said – we are in the world BUT we are not of this world – amazing – we can live in this world but basically we are not part of the world out there – we are set apart – set apart to live for Jesus.

So in effect Jesus is telling us – actually commanding us not to compromise – no compromising Him, His Word or our Christian faith.

Pretty big call when all through our lives we are taught to compromise and in life that is what it is all about.

Being a Christian isn’t easy – God said it wouldn’t be – we have to stand up for what we believe and not compromise our faith by bending to the world’s wishes or standards.

This was brought home to me just last week when I again learnt a lesson from my family – I have shared recently how my daughter in law shared a book with me by John Bevere. The book changed my life and made me realise how much we need God and how we can make our life count today and forever.

Well this time it was Elyssa my 9 year old Granddaughter  (or Grandblessings as I now refer to my Grandchildren).

She was at her singing lessons – she loves singing, dancing and all things musical – and auditioning for musical theatre when musical lyrics for a certain number were being performed.

The lyrics and music were great and she was enjoying singing when suddenly words on the page jumped out at her – they were just “not right” and belittled and downgraded the name of God.

Afterwards she went to her coach and quietly but determinately advised her that “I can’t sing those words”.

I was amazed as was her teacher, who phoned Elyssa’s Mum to talk about it. As far as Elyssa is concerned – there is NO compromise – amazingly she is prepared to forgo her chance at singing that part because she knows that it is “just not right.”

We may have to compromise throughout our lives here on earth BUT God says where He is involved there is absolutely no room for compromise – If we don’t give God 100% then we haven’t given Him anything.

When we make Jesus king in our lives – then He MUST be King over EVERY aspect of our lives – not just a little bit.

We can’t hold back some little part and say to God ‘You can have this part but not that – I want to keep that and keep saying this” – No doesn’t work like that.

Make Jesus king over everything.

If we try to compromise Him an any way then that makes us open to His wrath. Why? because then He isn’t really Lord of our life at all and God demands everything.

So how are you at compromise? – Is there anything you are holding back?

Once again my family have shown me amazing truths – God is never through with us no matter how old and crotchety we get.

Nine year old Elyssa, by her courage and determination not to ‘put God down’ has been a huge lesson to me. That lesson has enabled me to say with all certainty – “Father take ALL of my life – I don’t want to compromise you any more.”

Father I thank you for my family – thank you for the lessons you have shown us through them – I praise you Lord for your faithfulness. Give us the courage of our convictions and help us to give you 100% of our lives.

So again the question is asked – how are you at compromise – the decision and action is yours – the grace and assistance is Gods.

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My Restless Heart

Without warning, I was trapped in the book of Ecclesiastes. All was vanity. I found myself absentmindedly repeating the words again an again: “There must be more. Surely we were born for something more. More than waking in order to work, working in order to eat, eating and sleeping or order to wake and work again. More than graduating to have a career, marrying to have children so they could eventually graduate, work, marry and have children of their own.

The cycle of survival wasn’t enough. I already knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior… what more could there be? I hadn’t merely inherited my faith in God. I had searched and struggled, scrapped and clawed my way to a living walk with Him. I still sensed there was more. ~ Victoria Brooks

More. Have you felt it, too? Have you longed for more, not only when things are going wrong, but when everything is very right?

This is a thought provoking post by Debbie over at Two Minutes of Grace. Have not all of us wondered “is there more”? More then work and all of the things we all do daily, more then simply attending church and worshiping God?

To read the rest of this post please head over to, http://twominutesofgrace.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/my-restless-heart/

While you are there, why not check out the rest of Debbie’s site? Let her know you were there and that you enjoyed an article on her site. Receive your Two Minutes of Grace today!

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