Idea for a Yearly Baby Dedication Service

This is a service where Christian parents dedicate their children to the Lord. They promise the Lord and church to raise their children in a godly way until children can make their own decisions to follow the Lord. Pastors should contact families who have had children during the previous year and invite them to a meeting to discuss the service. He can use this meeting to teach and explain the reason for the service and reinforce a biblical vision for Christian parenting.

Actual Order of Baby Dedication Service

• Parents stand before the congregation with their children, and the pastor asks the following questions:

Do you today recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God’s blessing?

Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?

Do you pledge as parents that, with God’s help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?

Do you promise to provide, through God’s blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?

Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that, by God’s grace, your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?

• Insert these same promises in the bulletin to reinforce a Biblical vision of parenting for the whole congregation. The pastor can invite all parents silently to re-commit these promises.

• After the parents have confirmed their promises, the pastor can pray a prayer of dedication.

Prayer of Dedication

(child’s name), together with your parents, who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God for ever.

• After the ceremony, the pastor can present parents with a Child’s Bible, a certificate, and a pastoral letter to give the child on his 12th birthday.

Sample of a Pastoral Letter:

Name of Church
Address of Church (City, State Zip)
Date of Dedication Service
Infant’s Full Name

Dear (child’s first name)

I would like to wish you a Happy Birthday today. I am writing this letter to you on the day that your Parents dedicated you to the Lord at (church name). As you read this letter, you are celebrating your 12th birthday. I hope today is a special day for you.

God blessed you with two very special parents. They prayed for you during your mother’s pregnancy. Earlier today at your dedication, I reminded your parents of their responsibility to provide you with a home that would honor Christ.

As a church, we prayed that you would grow up to know and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Up to this point, your parents have made most of your life’s important decisions. Now you are 12 years old, and there is one decision that only you can make. You alone must accept Jesus as your personal Savior. If you have already done this, I pray that you will continue to grow, as a Christian and that, you will stay close to Jesus in your years ahead.

May God bless you on this special Birthday.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor’s Name

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Planning a Yearly Mission’s Conference

The success or failure of the Mission’s Conference rises or falls with the leadership. If the pastor and leaders do not get excited about the Conference, the people will not get excited.

Why Should Your Church Have a Yearly Conference?

• To give your church more of a burden for missionaries around the world.
• To give your church information about new missionaries and their fields.
• To challenge your church to have a deeper prayer commitment for individual missionaries and their fields.
• To encourage your church to pray that the Lord will raise up new missionary candidates from your church.
• To increase your church’s mission giving so that it could take on new missionaries and increase the support of its current missionaries.

When Should Your Church Schedule the Mission’s Conference?

• Select the date that doesn’t conflict with anything that will compete for a large section of your congregation.
• Most Conferences follow one of these three schedules: Wednesday through Sunday; Sunday through Wednesday; or Sunday through Sunday.
• Set the date and theme at least a year in advance.

What Are Some Themes, Slogans, and Quotes Your Church Could Use?

• There are many different themes you could use: ”The field is the World”, “Laborers Together,” “Go Into All the World and Preach the Gospel,” “Pray! Give! Go!” “Do You Hold the Key?” “Missions, Heaven’s Heartbeat,” etc.
• “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light” — John Keith Falconer
• “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply” — Hudson Taylor
• “God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him” — Hudson Taylor
• “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” — Hudson Taylor
• “If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all for China” — Hudson Taylor
• “God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.” — Hudson Taylor
• “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” — William Carey
• “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” — William Carey
• “Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?” — William Carey
• “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” — Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia
• “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” — Jim Elliot, missionary martyr who lost his life in the late 1950’s trying to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador
• In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been” — Robert Moffat, who inspired David Livingstone
• “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” — David Livingstone
• “Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” — C.T. Studd
• “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.” — Oswald J. Smith
• “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” — Oswald J. Smith
• “The mission of the church is missions” — Oswald J. Smith
• “If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon
• “You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.” — Amy Carmichael

What Are Some Things Your Church Should Do to Start Preparing for the Conference?

• Budget the Conference’s expenses in yearly mission’s budget. This amount should cover Conference expenses, plus a good love offering to each missionary.
• Begin preparations at least six months prior to the Conference.
• Recruit an effective leader to head up planning the Conference.
• Involve as many people as possible in the planning and preparing of the Conference.
• Find the best keynote mission’s speaker you can get. He will set the tone for the Conference.
• Develop a program that includes skits, creativity, drama, and storytelling. Skits and dramas are very effective in challenging hearts for missions.
• Three weeks before the conference, give Faith Promise Sunday school lessons to the teachers to teach for next three weeks.
• Children’s church can also hear Faith Promise lessons and raise special missionary offerings for various projects or missionaries.
• Have Sunday school teachers and Junior Church leaders teach a mission lesson each week for 4 weeks prior to your conference.
• Bathe your Conference in prayer. Prayer is the single most important part of the Conference.
• Organize cottage prayer meetings several weeks before the Conference, asking people to sign up and be a part of the effort to pray for the success of the meeting.
• Promote your Conference as the best event of the year for your church.

What Music Should Your Church Use for the Conference?

• If you have a choir director, have him plan a missionary theme song to be sung each night of the Conference. “Lift Up Your Eyes”, “Look Unto the Fields”, “How Shall They Hear”, “Here Am I, Send Me,” “Come Over and Help Us,” etc.
• If you do not have a song leader, select someone to lead songs for the Conference.
• Sing missionary songs for each conference session.
• Choose a missionary theme chorus to sing for each night of the Conference.
• Use missionary emphasis words with familiar hymns. (Check my blog for examples January 17, 2012; Mission Conference Songs)

How Should Your Church Advertise for the Conference?

• Publicly verbalize enthusiasm for world missions and encourage financial support for the Conference.
• Three weeks before the Conference, send each family an encouraging and challenging letter about the Conference.
• Encourage each member to look for ways to minister to the missionaries during the Conference.
• One month before the conference, decorate sanctuary with large theme banner.
• The Conference program should be printed ahead of time to insert in the church bulletin at least two or three weeks prior to the conference.
• Posters should be placed about the church including pictures of missionaries and information about their fields.
• Prepare a Prayer Guide booklet for your people. This will have a listing of all your missionaries, their contact information, their prayer requests, interesting facts about their ministry and the country they represent.
• The church marque should carry appropriate advertising of the Conference.
• Place articles in the local newspaper with news releases and pictures of the missionaries.
• Make contact with local radio and television stations for public service announcements.
• If there are Christian schools in your area, contact them and let them know that you have missionaries who would be available to speak in their assemblies and classrooms.
• Put up a book table with stimulating missionary biographies and stories for the people of your church to purchase.

How Should Your Church Treat the Missionaries Who Participate in the Conference?

• Be sure to correspond well with the missionary before the conference.
• When the missionary arrives, show him around the church facility, introduce him to staff, and show him where to set up his display.
• Give him a welcome packet that includes:
1. Itinerary of where he is to be throughout each day and what is expected of him.
2. An envelope with some spending money for him to use during the Conference.
3. Directions how to get to his host’s home/motel and back to church.
• Pray with him. Ask the Lord to use him effectively during the time he is with you and that your people will be responsive to his ministry.
• Invite him to join you in prayer before each service or function in which he takes part.
• If you plan to do something fun with missionary while he is with you, find out what he enjoys. Be sure to give him the option. Your concern is to meet his needs. Some may need time away from the children after spending hours or days traveling in the car. Others may need to rest or catch up on correspondence. Be sure not to make him feel any pressure.
• Be sensitive to any dietary restrictions he might have.
• Don’t feel obligated to provide three large meals each day. It’s usually more convenient for the missionary to have breakfast at the host’s home/motel.
• Provide an evening meal at the church for missionary/missionaries. Be sure to include the pastor and his family, the staff and his family, and the family or Sunday school class who provided the meal to join the missionaries. (This gives other members a chance to interact with missionaries so that they can begin to know, to love, and to appreciate the missionaries)
• Use Skype to involve special missionaries who are not able to attend the Conference.

What Should Be the Schedule of Your Faith Promise Sunday?

• Take commitments in each Sunday school class. Assign one spokes person to read the class commitment in morning service. (Ex. By faith Pastor_________, the primary girls will give $10.50 each week for world-wide missions)
• After sermon, hand Faith Promise Cards to every member in the service. Have prayer. (While people are writing out their commitments, have two people to set up a power point display to calculate total commitments)
• Collect cards from morning service and have someone total those cards.
• Call out a representative from each individual class to audibly give class commitment.
• Rejoice over total promised for the coming year.

Miscellaneous Mission Conference Ideas

• Make preparations for the conference several months prior to the meeting.
• Have special prayer meetings.
• Plan special music.
• Treat your conference like a revival rather than a money-raising week.
• Choose your missionaries carefully. The quality of missionaries determines how excited your people will be about missions.
• Be sure to correspond well with the missionary before the conference. Let them know when to arrive, directions to the church, what you expect from them, and where they will be staying.
• Be sure to budget a portion of your faith-promise budget to take care of your conference expenses. Make sure that the budget includes a good love offering to each missionary plus his traveling expenses.
• If your missionary is not staying in a motel, plan to have a host family for him to stay. This host will be responsible for missionary and be in contact with him to meet his needs or answer questions.
• Develop a personal-type questionnaire for your people to use with the missionaries. Anything you can do to encourage interaction with the missionaries will be a blessing to your people. Questions such as favorite verse, signature, birthday, wedding anniversary, home church, favorite food, and other interesting facts.
• Provide name tags for the missionaries with the name of their country. Also provide the same type of tag for the deacons, pastor, staff, and members so that the missionary will can get to know everyone. Use a different format for church people. (Example: use flag for missionary and church logo for church people)
• Pass out a photograph and biographical sketch about each missionary a few weeks before the conference, especially to the Sunday school classes where the missionary will be teaching. Your people should know the missionary when he arrives.
• Prepare a video or slide update each year about everything the church and mission dollar is doing around the world.
• Prepare a special missionary passport for children to take to the display that each missionary has set up during the conference. They will then get the passport stamped like one does going to another country. This will give the child an opportunity to meet the missionary and visit with him.
• Put up an eternity light that blinks a few times a second to remind them that each time the light flashes, someone else dies and goes to hell. Be sure to put up a sign reminding people of how many people are dying without the Lord Jesus Christ. Right now, you can safely say that over 106 people go into eternity every minute; and at least 75 of them will have died without Christ and gone to an eternal hell. The world statistics show that about 35% of the world calls itself “Christian.” Of those, how many truly know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior? Have light turn “On” and “Off” on minute intervals with a similar note or even every 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Just adjust the death rate by the minute. Right now, 1.7 people die somewhere in the world every second.
• Put up famous missionary sayings and challenges on the wall.
• Have a Shower of Blessings party for the missionaries. A number of people could be assigned to spend up to $25 on requests the missionary has given. (Gift cards are always a treat for traveling missionaries)
• Have a parade of the flags that represents different countries where you support missionaries. This can be done at the start of the conference to let your people feel the weight and influence that your church is having around the world.
• Be sure to put up lots of maps, flags, globes, and statistics to help people get a world vision. Use your flags to decorate your church. Place them on beautiful flag poles and stand them along the wall behind the choir.
• Call a missionary each week or even monthly on a speaker phone and have him lead the opening prayer in the service and also give a brief update of his work from the field.
• On Sunday mornings, in between announcements on your big screen, rotate pictures of your missionaries and their fields to remind your people to pray for them.

Is Your Self-Talk Destroying You?

(In July, I taught this lesson for the Ladies Sunday School class at Blackstone Valley Baptist Church, Cumberland, RI)

We all struggle with thoughts of not being happy or contented. Most of the time it is because of lies that Satan has placed in our minds. My brother-in-law, a full-time Christian counselor, told me that many times his main job in counseling is to help his counselees discover the time and place where Satan placed lies in their minds and to guide them into replacing those lies with God’s truth.

There was a survey done with 5,000 middle-class single and married men and women with above average intelligence. Single people envied married people because they had children and a home. Married people envied single people because they are out enjoying life and are really happy.

Do you know how the FBI trains secret service agents to identify counterfeit money? They put them in a room with real money. For hours they study the details of the real thing…they feel it…they smell it. They become so familiar with real money that when they come across counterfeit money, they can pick it out the bad money because they have become so familiar with the good money.

That is how we must be. We must be able to distinguish between Satan’s lies and God’s truth.
Satan lies to us about our churches and living  separated lives, “God’s ways are too restrictive.”
Satan lies to us about our husbands, “We deserve better husbands than what we have.”
Satan lies to us about our sins, “Those sins aren’t really that bad.”
Satan lies to us about our circumstances. “If our husbands weren’t so cranky, we wouldn’t be so snappy.”

Remember Satan is the father of lies…and a good one.

Secular philosophy says no one can be healed unless he explores his past in detail and discovers the events of his past that make him feel the way he feels. Self-talk are those thoughts we tell ourselves that appear to us as truth…but they are really lies.

A man’s emotions are not caused by the circumstances of his past or present, but they are caused by what he tells himself about those circumstances, whether they are truth or lies.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Consider these self-talk lies:

Lie-I can’t do anything right. (Truth-You didn’t do one thing right, but you do many things right)
Matthew 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Lie-I always make mistakes. (Truth-you made one mistake)
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Lie-I have to please everyone. (Truth-You don’t have to strive for approval of everyone…God accepts you)
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Lie-I am dumb. (Truth-God has given you intelligence)
Psalms 119:73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

Lie-I don’t have any talents. (Truth-God has given you talents)
1 Corinthians 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

Lie-I don’t have any friends. (Truth-God has given you friends)
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Lie-I don’t have enough money. (Truth-God has given you more than the rest of the world)
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Lie-The things he says to me makes me so angry. (Truth-I make myself angry by the things he says to me)
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

If we as women govern our lives by believing lies, we will never get victory. Here are a few things we should remember when we struggle with negative self-talk.

• We must not get anxious about what others might be thinking of us. It is ludicrous to think that everyone is going to like us and like everything we do.
• We must focus our thoughts on God’s promises.
• We must not fret over our imperfections and remind ourselves that we are God’s creatures and thank Him for the way He has made us.
• When we do make mistakes, don’t dwell on them. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching us.

When you make a mistake, never give up!

Acrostic for FAIL.
First
Attempt
In
Learning

Acrostic for END
Effort
Never
Dies

Acrostic for NO
Next
Opportunity

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.

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.

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