Signs of the Second Coming of Christ

Signs of the Last Days and the Second Coming of Christ

Nation shall rise against nation……Matthew 24:7

Earthquakes, famines, and pestilence…..Matthew 24:7

Men shall run to and fro…..Daniel 12:4

Knowledge shall be increased…..Daniel 12:4

Wars and rumors of wars…..Matthew 24:6

Evil men shall wax worse and worse…..I Timothy 3:13

As in the day of Noah…..Matthew 24:37

False Christs…..Matthew 24:5, Mark 13:22

Falling away from the truth…..I Timothy 4:1,2

Will not endure sound doctrine….l Timothy 4:2-4

Scoffers about the Second Coming….II Peter 3:3-14

They shall say peace and safety….I Thess. 5:1-3

Men walking after their own lusts….Jude 16, 17, 18

Heaping treasures for the last days….James 5:3-6

False preachers……Matthew 24:11

Men and horses out of work…Zech 8:10

Automobiles….Nahum 2:3-4

Air ships….Isaiah 31:5; 60:8

Perilous times…..II Timothy 3:1

Disobedient to parents….II Timothy 3:2

Lovers of pleasure….II Tim 3:4-5

Jews returned to Israel….Jer 32:36-42

Coming world dictator …..II Thess2:1-4; Rev 13

Length of his rule…Rev 13:5

Some will worship him….Rev 13:8

Doom to those that worship him ….Rev 14:9-11

Picture of last war….Dan 12:1; Matthew 24:21,27; Jer 25:29-33

Gospel preached among all nations….Mark 13:10

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Dear Ladies,
I came across this article and thought if was good. Many times people will come to you and want to know if Christians should be cremated or buried.

Cremation Vs. Burial for the Believer in Christ
Written By John Hamel

Recently a long time friend and supporter of this Ministry asked JHM in writing, “What does the Bible say about cremation?”  I answered that question in writing and thought it would be good to include that answer here.  Please keep in mind I could not answer their question as thoroughly as the Bible does because of time and space limitations.  I simply pointed them in the right direction as follows, encouraging them to study it out for themselves.

As you read JHM’s answer to the question of cremation, we trust it will lead you into further study as well.  Suggestion:  Put the word “buried” into your computer Bible search and see why the Bible on computer is such a wonderful thing that came straight out of the mind of Christ!

“What does the Bible say about cremation?”

Although the word “cremation” is not used in the Bible, the subject is clearly covered.  Burning human bodies after death has always been an occult practice observed by many of the world’s false religions.  It is gaining acceptance in America and other civilized nations basically for two reasons.  Number one, because too many Christians have not bothered to find out what the Bible teaches about it.  Number two, it is considered to be “economical,” “sanitary” and “practical.”

A search of the Scripture reveals that only people who were under a curse for one reason or another had their bodies burned at death.  As a matter of fact, the Lord instructed King Josiah to slay all the priests who had ever burned dead bodies on the altar of God.  (2Kings 23:16, 20)  He then instructed King Josiah to burn those same priests’ bodies on their own altars because they were under a curse for burning other human bodies.  Something to think about, isn’t it?

Elsewhere the sons of Belial came under a curse for their deliberate rebellion.  Anyone who even touched them came under a curse as well and was to be killed on the same day and their body burned. (2Samuel 23:6-7)

Again, the ONLY time someone’s body was burned in the Bible was when they were under a curse.  Honorable people of God in the Bible were always buried upon death, not burned.  Their bodies were placed back into the earth for safekeeping, the same earth from whence they came, until the Lord comes to resurrect those bodies for Eternal service to Him. (John 5:28-29)

In Scripture it was an insult to the Holy Spirit to burn a human body.  This becomes very clear by reading the narrative involving King Josiah mentioned above.  This is even truer in this New Testament Dispensation of Grace because the Believer’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”  We are to honor God with our bodies not only in life but also in death, not dishonor Him. (1Corinthians 6:19-20)

Just to list a few Biblical examples of burial: Able (Genesis 4:10), Abraham (Genesis 15:5), Sarah (Genesis 23:19), Isaac (Genesis 35:29), Rebecca and Leah (Genesis 49:31), Joseph (Genesis 50:13), Miriam (Numbers 20:1), Aaron (Deuteronomy 10:6), Gideon (Judges 8:32), Jehoshaphat (1Kings 22:50), Saul and his sons (1Chronicles 10:12), King Solomon (2Chronicles 9:31) and the Prophet Elisha (2Kings 13:20), etc.

By reading the Old Testament books of II Kings and I & II Chronicles, you will discover a chronicle of all Israel’s kings who died and were BURIED, not burned.  All of Israel’s kings were buried except for two.  Those two were under a specific curse.

It was God’s will that even the wicked be buried and not burned unless they were under a very specific curse. (Job 27:15; Ecclesiastes 8:10)  Burning a human body was to deliberately point out the fact they were indeed under a specific curse for deliberately defying the Most High God, not because it was “economical,” “sanitary” or “practical.”  In the Old Testament only the CURSED were instructed to NOT be buried. (Jeremiah 16:4, 6; 25:33)

For a human body to be placed back into the earth from whence it came is an honorable thing. (Genesis 2:7)  For a human body to be burned is a dishonorable thing in the eyes of the God Who does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8)

Under the New Covenant John the Baptist was buried. (Matthew 14:12)  The Apostle Peter made it perfectly clear that King David was buried and not burned after his death. (Acts 2:29)  Ananias and Sapphira were buried even though their deaths occurred as a result of their lying to God. (Acts 5:6, 9-10)  Stephen was buried after his stoning. (Acts 8:2)  Jesus Himself was buried not burned or cremated. (1Corinthians 15:4)

The Bible says we are BURIED with Christ in Baptism.  It does not say we are “cremated” with Him in Baptism. (Romans 6:4)  Going down into and coming up out of a watery grave symbolizes the Believer’s identification with Christ’s death, BURIAL and resurrection, not His death, cremation and scattering of ashes.

Although there is no single verse of Scripture that says Believers are not to be burned or “cremated,” we are to walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham our spiritual Father. (Romans 4:12)  Abraham was buried, not cremated, and he left very specific instructions for all of his family to be buried.  Jesus Himself followed Abraham’s example. (Matthew 27:57-60)  Therefore, we must now follow their example. (Galatians 3:29)

So there you have the short answer.  Short because there are just about one hundred Scriptural references to God’s servants/family/sons/daughters being buried and never cremated.  I believe that’s a pretty good precedent to follow.  There are only a handful of examples of bodies being burned upon death and ONLY when those individuals were under a curse or involved in occult practices.

However, I always point out to people that we do not have two or three confirming New Testament Scriptures SPECIFICALLY telling us what to do in the matter of burial versus cremation, as we do with so many other things pertaining to life and conduct.  Moses, Jesus and the Apostle Paul said we must have these witnesses before building a doctrine. (Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:16; 1Corinthians 13:1)  However, we do have EXAMPLES to follow, from Able to Jesus and everyone in between.  That, quite frankly, is good enough for me and should be good enough for anyone who wants to both know and to do the Bible thing.

So there you go.  Hope this helped a little.  Again, I point these things out to people when they ask about cremation and then I tell them they must follow their own conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit from there.  If they have cremated someone, wishing later they hadn’t done so, I encourage them to just receive God’s forgiveness and mercy and to know that He can and will even raise up ashes into a perfect human being when He returns. God knows where everyone’s DNA is! (1John 1:9; John 5:28-29)

However, God’s mercy is no reason to go with cremation if your conscience or the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit is telling you not to do so.  JHM

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I was watching Fox news and I wondered, “Why do all those women wear dresses?” What I discovered is that by wearing dresses, it is like a death blow to the left and the feminist movement.

Hadley Freeman, of The Guardian, wrote about the news women on Fox News, “The uniformity of this style suggests a political statement which, indeed, it is. Theirs is a look that defiantly embraces the most conservative notions of femininity and firmly rejects any idea of modernity, let alone feminism.”

Wow! They want their women to dress so that they look feminine. I must agree their dresses are short and form fitting…but the network wants the world to know that there is a difference in dress between the right and left.

Years ago when Gloria Steinem, the feminist activist, voiced her opinion…women are just as important as men…be the woman who wears the pants in your family. She was basically saying, “You don’t have to be submissive to any man in your life.”  What she implied was a typical slam against wearing feminine clothing and looking feminine. Think about the left…look at Hillary….she is never seen wearing a dress. She always wears a pantsuit…no matter what interview or what audience she speaks.

God gives us a simple and clear advice about how we as Christian women should dress. I Timothy 2:9: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…” The word “modest” is defined in Collin’s English Dictionary:

Having or expressing a humble opinion of oneself or one’s accomplishments or abilities; not pretentious;  not extreme or excessive, moderate

I believe that a woman’s clothing should be suitable for different situations. For example, we should want to wear a respectable swimsuit for the pool or beach, to wear jeans to work in the garden, and to wear a proper outfit to church, to weddings, or to funerals.

The Bible’s greatest prophecies are being fulfilled.  God instructed the nation of ancient Israel in Deuteronomy 22:5 as follows: “The woman shall not wear that which pertains unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD your God.” Clearly, God is referring to a woman dressing to look like a man or a man dressing to look like a woman.  My how things have changed since that was Scripture was written…a section of our society wants to break down all distinctions between male and female. (masculine and feminine)  Lawmakers are in the process of making laws to make women’s bathrooms neutral.  In some states, men are already allowed to use the same  bathrooms as the women.

As Christian women, we must learn to find a balance between today’s style and tradition…between looking masculine and looking feminine. Whatever we wear, we must wear clothes that reflect Christ’s light into this lost and dying world. We should want to present a good testimony and show others that we have a heart that wants to please the Lord.

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Missionary Story

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffedby the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall-decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.

Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.

Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three. This family loved the little girl and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed and the Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and went straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a white baby… the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village… All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.

For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa?” she said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”

“It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life… “Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together.

Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.

“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24:Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He then followed with Psalm 126:5: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country [Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].) Permissions: Feel free to reproduce and distribute any articles written by Randy Alcorn, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this information, not protect or restrict it.

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What Is Faith?

If someone asked you this morning, “What is faith?” How would you answer that question?

The root word of ‘faith’ is PISTIS. That word is a noun.

FAITH – PISTIS means faith, belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, faithfulness.

The root word of ‘believe’ is PISTUEO. That word is a verb.

BELIEVE – PISTUEO – to trust in and rely upon, commit to the charge of, confide in, have a mental persuasion.

What a great thought that my faith is the act whereby I lay hold of God’s resources, and I become obedient to what He has prescribed for me. I put aside all my self interest and self-reliance, and trust Him completely. It is an absolute surrender of the whole of my being and a complete dependence upon Him. It is wholly trusting and relying upon Him for all things. It is not just a mental assent to the facts and realities of His Word, but it is a deep inner commitment to the convictions which have come to me through His Word. By faith,  I have a firm conviction that I can fully commit my life to God’s charge and be assured that He knows what is best for me.

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Failure Isn’t Final

Sometimes it is hard to build our days on pleasant thoughts when we feel like we are a failure. Satan is always trying to make us focus on our weaknesses and failures.  We must constantly remind ourselves that we are God’s creatures and thank Him for the way He has made us. We are valuable to Him, and He wants us to live abundant lives. At those times in our lives when we begin to have thoughts of being  failures, we must not allow our minds to dwell on our imperfections and begin to look at our failures as life’s way of teaching us.

No one is perfect! Once we begin to accept our failures and surrender them to the Lord, He will release us from our bondage of trying to be perfect in all things and will use those failures to draw us closer to Him.

I was sitting here tonight listening to the song on You Tube Failure Isn’t Final sung by LuLu Roman. I really didn’t know much about her life, but I just came across a bio written about her.

LuLu has enjoyed many successes in her life, but also more than her share of disappointments and hardships. Famous for her side-splitting humor and jovial disposition, a lesser-known story lies behind those clear, radiant eyes, which have often been filled with tears of both pain and joy.

People know LuLu as the most requested female cast member of the long running hit television series, “Hee Haw”. Many know her as the accomplished and celebrated songwriter; and as the singer who has been successfully making records for over 25 years.

Few know that Lulu was born with a thyroid dysfunction in a home for unwed mothers and was soon placed in an orphanage. It was there that her weight problem furthered her pain, preventing her adoption and making her the center of teasing by the other children. It was also during this time that LuLu learned to use her sense of humor as a defense.

That sense of humor later evolved into a highly successful career as an actress and comedienne with a lead role on “Hee Haw.” Success and wealth, however proved poisonous to the actress who began her career in her early twenties. Drug addiction led LuLu on a downward spiral that nearly destroyed her life and her career in 1971.

LuLu’s search for happiness and acceptance, which had almost led her to her personal destruction, instead led her to God. It was her new found faith in God that led her to begin using a talent that had been laying dormant for many years: her voice.

Listen to her sing the song that she wrote Failure Isn’t Final on You Tube.

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Important Communication Guidelines


  1. Be a good listener. Do not answer a person before he has stopped talking. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
  2. Think before you speak. Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
  3. Do not use silence on a person to show your anger or frustration with him. Explain the reason that you are angry or frustrated. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
  4. Do not become involved in quarrels. Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
  5. Do not respond in uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
  6. When you are wrong, admit your offence and ask forgiveness. Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
  7. When you do forgive someone, never bring the offence up to him again. Genuine forgiveness means: I won’t bring it up to the person again-I won’t bring it up to anyone else-I won’t let my mind brood on it. Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do
  8. If someone verbally attacks, criticizes, or blames you, do not respond same way. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  9. Try to understand the other person’s opinion. 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
  10. Do not blame or criticize the other person. Try to encourage and edify. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
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Recipes for Cheesecake, Banana Bread, and Lasagna

Someone asked me for one of the following recipes, and I noticed that these 3 recipes were in my first book, but I failed to put them in my second book.

Italian Cheesecake

1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 lb. cream cheese
1 ½  cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon extract
3 T. flour
3 T. cornstarch
½ melted butter (cooled)
2 cups sour cream
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 T. chopped lemon peel

In large mixing bowl cream ricotta and cream cheese. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract; Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch. Add melted butter. Fold in sour cream.

Grease 9″ spring form pan and sprinkle generously with graham cracker crumbs. Pour cheese mixture into pan. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave cake in oven for 2 hours. This is very important. Do not open the door for 3 hours after the cake is placed in the oven. After 3 hours, remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Best Banana Bread (350º for 60 minutes)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 bananas, finely crushed ( for a very moist bread, use 4 bananas)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and crushed bananas and blend well. Sift together flour, soda and salt, add to creamed mixture, and add vanilla. Keep well if refrigerated.

Santino’ Lasagna 

8 oz. olive oil
2 large diced onions
2 lbs. chopped carrots
3 lbs. ground beef.

Cook ground beef, onion, and carrots in olive oil until done. Add 5 cans of kitchen ready pastene tomatoes and 3/4 T. salt.

While this mixture is cooking in an open pan, make a roux with 2 sticks of butter, 4 T. flour, and 2 cups milk.

Have a pot of water boiling for noodles. Dip noodles in and out of boiling water. Layer noodles, spaghetti sauce, and milk sauce in pan.  Bake for 20 minutes and then add mozzarella cheese on top. Continue baking another 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Teaching a Child to Handle His Conflicts

One of the best ways to help your child learn to handle his conflicts is to demonstrate how you handle your conflicts.  After you have gone through a difficult situation, which could have been a conflict, talk to your child about it. Explain to him, “If I had really said or did what I wanted, I would have created a severe conflict with that person. How I thought before I spoke, and I chose my words, I prevented a conflict.” If you didn’t react in a right way, be brave enough to share with your child what you did wrong, and ask his forgiveness.

Tips to help teach your child how to handle conflicts:

  • Help your child learn to think about his words before he speaks them to others. Make up a childhood situation which could ultimately lead to a conflict. Then ask your child to explain to you how those words would make him feel. By allowing your child to imagine harsh words spoken to him, and how those words might make him feel, could help him learn to think before he speaks.
  • Help your child learn to make a better choice of his words. We all struggle at times when we don’t know what to say during disagreements. Explain to your child that it is much better to keep quiet than to say the wrong things. Share with him that people never forget bad things that are spoken to them.
  • Rehearse with your child these two things.  Will my words build up or tear down? Will my words be helpful or hurt-filled?
  • Help your child learn that his actions will speak louder than his words. Explain to him what he chooses to do will have a greater impact on someone than the words he says to him. If he says a kind word or does a kind act for his friend, it will show his friend that he cares more about him than what his words say to him.
  • Help your child learn from the mistakes of others. When you see other children having conflicts, use those situations as teaching moments. Ask your child, “How to you think that little girl felt when her friend said that to her?” Instead of complaining about your child’s conduct, watch how other children communicate, and use those examples, good or bad,  as teaching toola to handle his personal conflicts.
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When God’s Gifts Aren’t Wrapped How You Hoped

Written by Paul Chappell  December 23, 2016

Life has a way of handing us unexpected and unwanted packages.

A pink slip from your employer.

A bad report from the doctor.

An eviction notice from the bank.

A harsh email from a strained relationship.

Too often, the package delivered with your name on it isn’t a present you want.

The first Christmas was wrapped in an unusual set of circumstances: Joseph and Mary having to make a difficult journey in the last trimester of her pregnancy…and then to have to give birth in a stable.

But the way Jesus chose to come reveals that the “surprises” in our lives that look so foreboding to us truly are unusual packages of God’s grace.

So what do we learn from the first Christmas about what to do when life hands us unwanted packages?

Trust God’s Providence

Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was no accident. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning where Jesus would be born.

Seven hundred years before Mary and Joseph began the difficultly-timed journey to Bethlehem, God had instructed the prophet Micah to record, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Life is full of unavoidable circumstances. We can expend our energy in futile efforts to change them. We can spend our time stewing in bitter resentment over them. Or we can trust God’s providence in the midst of them.

Although we may not see God’s hand of providence for years to come, we can trust that anything out of our control is filtered by the hand of our loving Father. He will not allow into our lives anything through which He cannot fulfill his promise in Romans 8:28.

Showcase God’s Grace

The presentation of Christ to this world was not the way we would have planned it. And I think we can safely say it is not the way Mary would have planned it either. (What mother wants to lay her newborn in a used feeding trough?)

But, with the enabling grace of God, Mary’s response to the unusual package of the manger magnified God’s grace, rather than opening it up for question.

Mary could have complained. She could have become angry toward God. “God, first You make me travel ninety miles when I’m great with child, and now this?! Couldn’t I at least have a comfortable room and clean surroundings in which to give birth? Why would You do this to me?”

Because Mary and Joseph received the incredible gift of Jesus—with no expectations of how He should be delivered or presented to the world—they deflected the attention from themselves to the manger.

And the manger became a showcase of grace where shepherds knelt in worship of God.

Wholly Surrender to God’s Will

Why did God choose Mary? The complete answer to that question is known only by God. But it is significant that Mary was willing—truly submitted—to receive this unusual, and in some ways heavy, gift.

Sure, there was great cost involved for Mary. But she yielded to the Lord, bore the cost, and cherished the gift.

God isn’t looking for the strong or searching for the famous. He gives His most precious gifts to those who will simply yield their wills to Him.

Our problem is that we see what looks to us like distasteful wrapping, and in our selfishness, we plead with God to take back His gifts.

Not so with Mary. She simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

What To Do with Your Gift

What about you? Are you staggering under the load of an unusual package—one that you never would have chosen, but have no way to release?

Are you struggling to understand the unavoidable circumstances that have come into your life?

Are you disappointed in the harsh realities of failed expectations?

Tiptoe to the Bethlehem stable. Gaze on a weary young mother, required to travel far in her last month of pregnancy—only to find a barn in which to give birth. See a crude manger. But don’t look solely at these wrappings. Peer beyond, into the manger, and see the face of God!

Yes, Christmas is a gift. And sometimes God sends His greatest gifts in the most unusual packages.

Trust His providence.

Showcase His grace.

And wholly surrender to His will.

In time, you will learn that God gives the best surprises.

(This post is adapted from chapter 3 of Christmas Is a Giftavailable also on kindle.)

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