Keeping Unity in Your Church

Because church splits, fights, and bickering are far too common in churches today, we, as Christian women must do all we can to help keep unity in our churches. Most of the time, people get upset over the way things are done, not why they are done. If your church is experiencing disunity, here are some practical suggestions to help you keep unity in your church.

• Before coming to services or meetings, bathe meetings fervently in prayer. The more you focus on prayer and keeping an intimate relationship with Jesus and His Word, the more you will be able to bring unity to your church. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

• Many times people jump to conclusions because they have limited facts; make sure you know all the facts. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

• When talking with other members, focus on solutions and not on other people. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

• Never compare your church or her leaders to other churches and their leaders. 2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

• If your church leaders are not corrupt, stand up for them. When you criticize your leaders, you tear down the unity in your church. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls…

• Focus on furthering the cause of Christ and not on furthering your own desires. When everyone in the church wants to see the cause of Christ go forward, the more church will be unified. Psalms 40:16 Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

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What Kind of Day Will I Choose to Have?

As I look forward to the day that God has set before me,  I am excited about all the things I might accomplish.  The choice is up to me! What kind of day will I choose to have?

If it is raining…I can choose to complain because it is raining, or I can choose to thank the Lord that He is watering my grass for me, and it is not costing me a thing.

If I am low on money…I can choose to feel sad because I don’t have enough money, or I can choose to be content and ask the Lord to give me wisdom to plan my purchases more wisely and also learn to be more frugal with what He has already given me.

If I am not feeling well…I can choose to moan about all my aches and pains, or I can choose to rejoice and thank the Lord that He has given me another day to serve Him.

If I am feeling I have been wronged…I can choose to  give someone a piece of my mind, or I can choose to use kind words and  be an influence for good.

If I am feeling resentful over my past…I can choose to grieve over the way my parents treated me when I was growing up, or I can choose to be thankful that they did the best they could.

If I am feeling sensitive over a friend’s comment…I can choose to overlook what she said to me, or I can retaliate  with unkind remarks and become bitter.

If I am feeling irritated in my garden…I can choose to complain that my roses have thorns, or I can choose to thank the Lord that He made thorns with beautiful roses.

If I am feeling tired…I can choose to be depressed because I have to go work, or I can choose to be joyful that I have a job.

If I am feeling I discouraged in my studies…I can choose to complain because I have to study, or I can choose to be thankful that I can open my mind to the many, wondrous things I have not yet learned.

If I am feeling overwhelmed with housework…I can grumble about doing it, or I can feel privileged that the Lord has provided me with a home.

The choice is up to me!

To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.                — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Teacher Appreciation Day

Consider having a special day to promote attendance by recognizing all teachers. (Public school, Christian school, University, etc) You could plan this day for the spring or fall.

• Announce two or three weeks in advance that the church will have a Teacher-Appreciation Sunday.
• Encourage everyone to invite a teacher for that day.
• On the special day, have all the visiting teachers sit in a reserved section. (The person who invites a teacher could sit in that section with him)
• Pastor could speak briefly about the appreciation the church has for the teachers and how difficult their jobs might be.
• Have each teacher stand, give his name and the department and class he teaches. As the teacher stands, have someone ready to present the teacher with a wrapped gift. (Gifts should be of a spiritual benefit to teachers such as a Bible, a one-volume commentary of the Bible, a Bible dictionary, or a picture with a spiritual theme)
• Pastor could then offer a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving for all the teachers.

Quotes about Teachers

Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

A great teacher is a great artist; his medium is not canvas, but the human soul.

A Good Teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others.

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.     ~Dan Rather

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.    ~ William A. Ward

One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.    ~ Forest Witcraft

When God created teachers, He gave us special friends to help us understand His world and truly comprehend the beauty and the wonder of everything we see, and become a better person with each discovery.

God understood our thirst for knowledge, and our need to be led by someone wiser;  He needed a heart of compassion, of encouragement and patience; Someone who would accept the challenge regardless of the opposition; Someone who could see potential and believe in the best in others… So He made teachers     ~ Unknown

Do You Ever Struggle with Depression?

What is depression? It is a time in a person’s life when he feels extremely sad and finds it difficult to think or concentrate because he thinks the circumstances of his life are hopeless.

When a person struggles with depression, it could be one of two reasons:

• He could be living with a weakened immune system.
• He could be living his life according to his environment. (Positive and negative situations)

One thing to remember when you go through a bout of depression is that even God’s choicest servants suffered depression at different times in their lives.

Elijah (I Kings 19:4).
David (Psa. 32:3-4)
Job (Job 3:1).
Solomon (Ecc. 2:20)

Charles Spurgeon: Although his friends and acquaintances remarked about his sense of humor and laughter, they understood that he struggled with bouts of depression. Here is how Spurgeon described his own depression.

I am the subject of depression so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to. But I always get back again by this–I know that I trust Christ. I have no reliance but in Him, and if He falls, I shall fall with Him. But if He does not, I shall not. Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and get the victory through it. And so may you do, and so you must, for there is no other way of escaping from it.”

Missionary David Brainard: Although Brainerd lived a holy life, he struggled with bouts of depression. In his memoirs, he states, “I constantly fought feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, and even as a young child my constitution and natural temper were prone to melancholy and dejection of spirit”.

How do you deal with your bout of depression when it hits you?

• Avoid too much spiritual introspection. McCheyne’s advice when he struggled with depression, “For every look you look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.”

• Admit to yourself that you can never gain God’s approval through your work for Him. God doesn’t accept you because of your gifts, talents, or abilities. He accepts you on Christ’s merits and who you are “In Him”.

• Think God-centered thoughts. These are thoughts that focus on God’s principles and His guidance. These are the thoughts that will lift your depression and bring you peace and joy. When you think thoughts that focus on how you feel, you will begin to have feelings of pride, bitterness, doubt, low-self esteem, or anger.

• Encourage others. You might be depressed because you think you don’t have any friends, but if you will be a friend, it will surprise you how many friend that you do have.

A man sent his four sons into a field to look at a lone pear tree. He sent the first one out in the winter; the second one during the spring; the third one in the summer; and the last one in the autumn to contemplate the pear tree.

They all sat at the table with their father and talked about what each son had seen during his season.

The first son remarked how sad, ugly, barren, and frozen the tree looked in winter. The second one stated the tree that he saw was full of fresh green buds and blossoms in the spring. That summer the third son was excited that the tree he stood beside was a tree full flowering beauty that smelled sweet with hope. The fourth son handed each of them a beautiful ripe pear and said, “It was a glorious tree full of harvest and heavy with fruit in the autumn.”

The father told his sons that all of them were right and that each of them had only seen one season of the tree. He then told his sons, “You cannot judge a person by only one season of his life, because you cannot measure the essence of one’s life until the end of all his seasons.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of the spring, the beauty of the summer, and the fulfillment of your autumn.

If you feel like you’re in the winter of your life and everything around you looks dead and barren, don’t be discouraged–wait for your autumn. As seasons of our lives come and change, we must learn to be patient and not forget, “It’s what you become in the end that will make the journey of all your seasons worth it all.”

Rules for Raising a Delinquent Child

Several years ago, the Police Department of Houston, Texas,  put out  these 12 rules for raising a delinquent child.

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. By doing this, he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think it’s cute.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself.
4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong”, this will give him a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him, and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up everything he leaves around…books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will experience in throwing all responsibility on others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let your child’s mind feast on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. In this way, he will not be too shocked when your home breaks up.
8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets in real trouble, comfort yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

If children are trained properly, they will bring you comfort in your old age. They will contribute positive values to this world. They will become good citizens and builders of our society.

Giving and Receiving Criticism

When a person gives us criticism, he usually wants to show us that we could have done or said things in a better way. Because of our pride, criticism is not easy for us to receive. There have been times in my life when I have been criticized, and…as hard as it was for me to take… I had to agree with my critic. I could have done things better, or I could have said something in a better way. There are times in all of our lives when we must give or receive criticism.

Here are a few guidelines to help you if you find yourself in one of those situations.

Guidelines for Giving Criticism

• Wait for your feelings and thoughts to be calm before speaking.
• Know your intent. Are you giving criticism because of your pride.
• Know your desired outcome.
• Don’t criticize the person, criticize his behavior. Behavior is something a person can change.
• Avoid sarcasm, and the words like “always”, “never” or “should.”
• Be prepared for a variety of responses.
• Remain open and flexible.
• Don’t apologize for confronting the person.
• Don’t forget to compliment the person that you are criticizing.

It is important for us to plan ways to receive criticism. If we do not prepare ourselves to receive criticism, we might allow our feelings to get out of control, distort our thinking, and say things we could regret.

Guidelines for Receiving Criticism

• Say, “I would like to think about this and discuss it with you later.” This will give you time to reorganize your thoughts and develop a godly response.
• Request more information by asking questions about the behavior you are being criticized.
• Agree with part or some of your critic. Just maybe… your critic could be right.
• Recognize that your critic has an opinion. Not everyone sees things the way you see them.
• Use a little humor.
• Take time to really listen and plan your responses before you speak..
• Establish and maintain eye contact.
• Encourage your critic to tell you exactly what they expect from you.

Meanings of Most Flowers

As every flower lover knows, flowers have a language of their own. Every sentiment is expressed in one form or another by these delicate blooms. Of course, even the experts disagree on the “true meaning” of many flowers and most have different meanings to different people. So, while all flowers convey thoughtfulness and love, here are some of the more traditional flower meanings.

ACACIA – Concealed Love, Chaste Love
AMBROSIA – Your Love is Reciprocated
AMARYLLIS – Pride, Pastoral Poetry
ANEMONE – Forsaken
ARBUTUS – Thee Only Do I Love
ASTER – Symbol of Love, Daintiness
AZALEA – Chinese Symbol of Womanhood
BACHELOR BUTTON – Single Blessedness
BEGONIA – Beware
BELLS OF IRELAND – Good Luck
BITTERSWEET – Truth
BLUEBELL – Humility
CACTUS – Endurance
CAMELLIA (PINK) – Longing for you
CAMELLIA (RED) – You’re a Flame in My Heart
CAMELLIA (WHITE) – You’re Adorable
CARNATION (GENERAL) – Fascination
CARNATION (PINK) – I’ll Never Forget You
CARNATION (RED) – Admiration
CARNATION (PURPLE) – Capriciousness
CARNATION (SOLID COLOR) – Yes
CARNATION (STRIPED) – No, Sorry I Can’t Be With You, Wish I Could Be With You
CARNATION (WHITE) – Sweet and Lovely, Innocence, Pure Love
CARNATION (YELLOW) – You Have Disappointed Me, Rejection
CATTAIL – Peace, Prosperity
CHRYSANTHEMUM (GENERAL) – You’re a Wonderful Friend, Cheerfulness and Rest
CHRYSANTHEMUM (White) Truth
CHRYSANTHEMUM (YELLOW) – Slighted Love
CROCUS – Cheerfulness
CYCLAMEN – Resignation and Good-bye
DAFFODIL – Regard, You’re the Only One, The Sun is Always Shining when I’m with You
DAISY – Innocence, Loyal Love, I’ll Never Tell, Purity
DANDELION – Faithfulness, Happiness
FERN – Magic, Fascination, Confidence and Shelter
FIR – Time
FLAX – Domestic Symbol
FORGET-ME-NOT – True Love, Memories
FORSYTHIA – Anticipation
GARDENIA – You’re Lovely, Secret Love
GERANIUM – Stupidity, Folly
GLADIOLI – Give Me a Break, I’m Really Sincere
GLOXINIA – Love at First Sight
HEATHER (LAVENDER) – Admiration, Solitude
HEATHER (WHITE) – Protection, Wishes Will Come True
HOLLY – Defense, Domestic Happiness
HYACINTH (GENERAL) – Games and Sports
HYACINTH (BLUE) – Constancy
HYACINTH (PURPLE) – I am Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Sorrow
HYACINTH (RED OR PINK) – Play
HYACINTH (WHITE) – Loveliness, I’ll Pray for You
HYACINTH (YELLOW) – Jealousy
HYDRANGEA – Thank You for Understanding
IRIS – Fleur-de-lis, Emblem of France, Your Friendship Means so Much to Me, Faith, Hope, Wisdom and Valor, My Compliments
IVY – Wedded Love, Fidelity, Friendship, Affection
JONQUIL – Love Me, Affection Returned, Desire, Sympathy, Desire for Affection Returned
LARKSPUR (PINK) – Fickleness
LILY (WHITE) – Purity, Majesty
LILY (YELLOW) – I’m Walking on Air, False and Happy
LILY (CALLA) – Beauty
LILY (DAY) – Coquetry, Chinese Emblem for Mother
LILY (EUCHARIS) – Maiden Charms
LILY (TIGER) – Wealth, Pride
LILY OF THE VALLEY – Sweetness, Return to Happiness, Humility, You’ve Made My Life Complete
MAGNOLIA – Nobility
MARIGOLD – Cruelty, Grief, Jealousy
MISTLETOE – Kiss me, Affection, To Surmount Difficulties, Sacred Plant of India
MONKSHOOD – Beware, A Deadly Foe is Near
MOSS – Maternal Love, Charity
MYRTLE – Love, Hebrew Emblem of Marriage
NARCISSUS – Egotism, Formality, Stay as Sweet as You Are
NASTURTIUM – Conquest, Victory in Battle
OLEANDER – Caution
ORANGE BLOSSOM – Innocence, Eternal Love, Marriage and Fruitfulness
ORANGE MOCK – Deceit
ORCHID – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Beautiful Lady, Chinese Symbol for Many Children
ORCHID (CATTLEYA) – Mature Charm
PALM LEAVES – Victory and Success
PEONY – Happy Life, Happy Marriage
PETUNIA – Resentment, Anger, Your Presence Sooths Me
PINE – Hope, Pity
POPPY (GENERAL) – Eternal Sleep, Oblivion, Imagination
POPPY (RED) Pleasure
POPPY (WHITE) – Consolation
POPPY (YELLOW) – Wealth, Success
PRIMROSE – I Can’t Live Without You
PRIMROSE (EVENING) – Inconstancy
ROSE (BRIDAL) – Happy Love
ROSE (DARK CRIMSON) – Mourning
ROSE (HIBISCUS) – Delicate Beauty
ROSE (LEAF) – You May Hope
ROSE (PINK) – Perfect Happiness, Please Believe Me
ROSE (RED) – Love, I Love You
ROSE (TEA) – I’ll Remember Always
ROSE (THORNLESS) – Love at First Sight
ROSE (WHITE) – Innocence and Purity, I am Worthy of You, You’re Heavenly, Secrecy and Silence
ROSE (WHITE AND RED MIXED) – Unity, Flower Emblem of England
ROSE (WHITE-DRIED) – Death is Preferable to Loss of Virtue
ROSE (YELLOW) – Decrease of Love, Jealousy, Try to Care
ROSEBUD – Beauty and Youth, A Heart Innocent of Love
ROSEBUD (RED) – Pure and Lovely
ROSEBUD (WHITE) – Girlhood
ROSEBUD (MOSS) – Confessions of Love
ROSES (Bouquet of Mature Blooms) – Gratitude
ROSES (Single Full Bloom) – I Love You, I Still Love You
SMILAX – Loveliness
SNAPDRAGON – Gracious Lady
SPIDER FLOWER – Elope with Me
STEPHANOTIS – Happiness in Marriage, Desire to Travel
STOCK – Bonds of Affection, Promptness, You’ll Always Be Beautiful to Me
SWEETPEA – Good-bye, Departure, Blissful Pleasure, Thank You for a Lovely Time
TULIP (GENERAL) – Perfect Lover, Frame, Flower Emblem of Holland
TULIP (RED) – Believe Me, Declaration of Love
TULIP (VARIEGATED) – Beautiful Eyes
TULIP (YELLOW) – There’s Sunshine in Your Smile
VIOLET – Modesty
VIOLET (BLUE) – Watchfulness, Faithfulness, I’ll Always Be True
VIOLET (WHITE) – Let’s Take a Chance
ZINNIA (MAGENTA) – Lasting Affection
ZINNIA (MIXED) – Thinking (or In Memory) of an Absent Friend
ZINNIA (SCARLET) – Constancy
ZINNIA (WHITE) – Goodness
ZINNIA (YELLOW) – Daily Remembrance

Ways to Shepherd Students in Your Class

Dear Ladies,
My husband wrote these suggestions last summer when our pastor asked him to think of some ways that his Sunday school teachers could better communicate with their students. Because I thought they were such great suggestions, I wanted to share them with you.

Below are a few suggestions that I thought might help your Sunday school teachers to more effectively “shepherd” their flocks.

1. Send them cards; birthday; friendship, encouragement, etc.

2. Visit THEIR school programs.

3. Take their pictures and post them in classroom.

4. Have students go on visitation with teachers to visit other students.

5. Have a birthday party once a month and celebrate the ones who had a birthday that month. Parties could be at church, at home, or at pizza parlor.

6. Get Treasure Path to Soul Winning or take portions from Proverbs and encourage students to MEMORIZE the Scriptures. You could then allow the students to quote the Scriptures in services and reward them for their achievements.

8. Call them each week just to keep in touch with them.

9. Ask them to help straighten up your class area before and/or after class; reward them for their efforts.

10. Remember Time = LOVE.

11. Take them to the park for a picnic.

12. Let the achievers decorate your class room as a reward/incentive.

Sunday School teachers have the opportunity to be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in a child’s life outside of their own parents. Remember you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

I hope this helps!

Robert Lewis

Ten Commandments for a Sunday School Teacher

1. Thou hast a Sunday School Class and thou shalt not be untrue to thy calling by giving thyself to frivolous tasks before thy class.

2. Thou shalt not give place to any idols in thy life; neither shalt thou bow down before them nor serve them.

3. Thou must give first place to the Lord thy God if thou are to lead His little ones.

4. Thou shalt not take the name “Sunday School Teacher” lightly; for the Lord will not hold that teacher guiltless who does not serve Him with dedication.

5. Remember thy class hour and keep it holy. Six days shalt thou study and do all thy work, but the seventh is the Lord’s day. When thy study is completed, thou shalt come before the class prepared to impart the Word of God.

6. Honor thy boys and girls with thy interest, thy counsel, and thy prayers that the effect of the Lord’s work through thee may be felt long within their lives.

7. Thou shalt not kill thy students interests with inadequate preparation and prayerlessness.

8. Thou shalt not steal time from thy class by being late on Sunday morning or by neglecting those who have been absent for even one Sunday.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness by teaching more or less than the Word of God.

10. Thou shalt not covet the praise of men, for the Lord Himself shall reward thee and will repay thee 100-fold.

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