Feb 23

Reviving Hospitality!

Some Rights Reserved by SalFalko

Why is it that we think hospitality is just for the ladies?  One of the qualifications for an elder is “hospitable.”  It seems that hospitality is a dying virtue in our busy culture.

It was highly valued in Old Testament times.  We see it displayed by Abraham, Lot, the widow of Zarephath to Elijah and Joseph to his brothers.  The New Testament teaches us about this core virtue as well.  The Pharisee is rebuked by Jesus for his lack of hospitality.  The good Samaritan is a timeless example of true servanthood.  Mary, Martha, and Lazarus open their home to Jesus.  The early church was active in hospitality.  Elders and widows were both required to be hospitable.  Traveling Christians and itinerant preachers depended upon the hospitality of fellow Christians when they came into a new town.

Hospitality is important for the church to consider today.  Hospitality is wide in its application.  Hospitality today should involve:

  • welcoming guests at worship services
  • having people into your home
  • hosting a church gathering
  • preparing food for the sick or bereaved
  • inviting a neighbor over for a bbq
  • sitting with a homebound person
  • taking a new couple to church out to eat

The list could be endless.  But hospitality should not be equated with entertaining.  Entertaining is about pleasure and mutual enjoyment.  Entertaining focuses on the event, and typically involves time with close friends and family.  Hospitality is about the other person.  It is about offering love to others without the expectation of a reward or mutual benefit.

We should take this important Christian duty seriously.  It is a great way to model the love of Christ to others.  it is my belief that hospitality is going to be an important church growth tool over the next 50 years.  Let’s be hospitable.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/reviving-hospitality/

Feb 21

What Am I Known for Loving?

purchased / copyrighted photo

Jesus said we should be known for our love for one another.¹  The term love involves our affections, loyalty, and passions.  Jesus said that “whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”²

When you put these two statements of Jesus together you are left with the powerful question, “What am I known for loving?

We sling the term love around in all kinds of ways today to talk about our affections and passions.  We love sports, a favorite movie, or a delicious meal.  Jesus is saying we should make sure we value the right things.  We need to make sure our love is appropriately placed.

The question of our love;  is really a question of our priorities.  What would others say you love?

Would they say you love your sports, beer, fun times, or money?  Maybe you love your job or your new truck.  What would others say you love?

Or would they say you love the Lord’s church?  Do they see your love of family and others?  Would they say you love the Word of God?

Other people know our passions.  Jesus says we should be known for loving one another.  He says we should not love this life, but rather hate all of its entrapments.

What are you known for loving?

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¹ John 13:34-35

² John 12:25

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Feb 15

God and Patterns

God likes patterns and repetition. 

I have started thinking about this again since teaching the book of Joshua this quarter.  The children of Israel go through a similar intentional pattern as their forefathers did when they left Egypt.

They renew the covenant, cross the Jordan river on dry ground, circumcise the men, and God speaks to Joshua in a like manner as the burning bush experience.  Just like God had honored and established Moses as the leader, so he does the same for Joshua.  A part of the pattern is to connect the new generation to their important story and history.  It was also to encourage them to act differently than their forefathers did in being faithless and disobedient.

The New Testament is filled with patterns and allusions to past stories.  For example, the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Passover meal of Israel, Jesus’ instituting it before his death, and early Christians celebrating it.  We continue this great legacy and pattern every Sunday.  Jesus and Paul describe the pattern of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as being reenacted in our baptism and spiritual lives.  Christians are called to die to themselves and rise to walk in the newness of Christ.  This is all possible because of the actual death and resurrection of Jesus.

There is a real sense where the old law is a pattern and analogy for the new covenant.  The garden of Eden and the Temple of Israel serve as a foreshadow of heaven.  The human body and the union of marriage is a patten for the church.  On and on we could go.  Look for these as you study Scripture.

God does all of these, it seems, to help us understand and to promote our faithfulness.  We are just continuing the chain by further adding links in the ancient story and patterns.  We also are better able to understand future spiritual things by understanding these physical patterns and parallels.  

“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.”(1 Corinthians 10:6)

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Feb 13

4 Moments That Help Make a Marriage

by Brenda Lomothe Coulomme at free images.com

Like a car engine needs oil to run, so the moving parts do not create lots of friction and melt down, so a marriage with all of its stress needs lots of love to keep it from burning down.

Love needs to be expressed daily to maintain the strong vibes and positive feelings between spouses.  If you allow bitterness and negativity to overcome your thoughts you are headed for sure trouble.

Years back we attended the Marriage Enrichment seminar by Faulkner and Brecheen.  In that seminar they shared four key moments in the day that help communicate commitment and love to your spouse.  They have been a part of our marriage ever since and I pray they can bless your marriage.  

At each of these times in the day find your spouse, give them a hug or kiss and check in on how they are doing.

  • When you wake up in the morning.  I know you may have morning-breath and bed-hair but when you both are awake it is good to connect with one another.  “How was your night?”  “Good morning!”  Maybe just a smile, a soft pat or quick embrace to begin your day by showing you love.
  • When you leave from each other.  Typically, one or both will be leaving the house for the day.  Before you leave, no matter how rushed you are to get out the door, find your spouse, give them a quick kiss on the forehead or lips, and wish them a great day.  This is a great time to be sure you are on the same page to your plans for the day and any important events that each need to know.
  • When you arrive back together.  You may need to sit in the car for a few minutes and let the frustration of the day pass away so you don’t immediately kick the dog and yell at your spouse and kids.  The first thing you should do when you get back together is find each other and embrace.  “How was your day?”  “It is good to see you again.”  It can be a quick exchange, before you see to the needs of the house, but find each other first!
  • When you are ready to go to sleep.  It is important to go to bed together, rather than separate, if possible.  But no matter the way you go to bed, always end the day, with a final kiss, hug, and “I love you.”  It would be great if this time would include a prayer together.

While everybody’s schedule is different, you should try to adapt these general thoughts to the routine of your marriage.  Four important moments each day to say, “I love you.” “I care for you.”  and “I am here for you.”  Try adopting this habit in your marriage and it can transform your relationship and your feelings for one another.

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Feb 08

Should Christians Seek Social Change? – FHU Lecture

*Below is my 2017 FHU Lecture Manuscript for my assigned topic in an Ethics track called “Should Christians Seek Social Change? from Daniel 4:27.  I hope it is helpful for you.

Image from sermoncentral.com

ETHICS — SHOULD CHRISTIANS SEEK SOCIAL CHANGE? (DANIEL 4:27)

Daniel, the prophet of God, was disturbed by the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  He realized its tremendous implications for the king (Dan. 4:19).  He counsels the king, with the hope of him avoiding such a fate, to “break off [his] sins by practicing righteousness, and [his] iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of [his] prosperity” (Dan. 4:27).  [All Scripture references are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise stated.]  Daniel’s clear message to the king involves him bringing about spiritual and social change.  He is called to repent from sins and practice righteousness, while displaying mercy and compassion to the poor and oppressed.  Being in the capacity of the king, he had the power and authority to bring about these social changes for his nation.  This text brings forth the question many Christians are struggling with today, “How do they bring about social change consistent with the gospel of Christ?”  How do we influence and call, as Daniel did, our governing authorities to break off from sin and show mercy to the oppressed?  In our democratic form of government, what level of involvement politically and socially should Christians seek?  Should we place our confidence in legislating morality, or should we remove ourselves completely from the political realm?  This author believes we have a divine duty to seek social change and will offer some suggestions on how we can best fulfill this duty in our present context.

WHAT SOCIAL CHANGE SHOULD NOT MEAN FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Before diving head long into social change, we should note some possible extremes to be avoided.  First, Christians should realize that seeking social change does not mean putting our hope in a political system.  It seems that some Christians have often tied their social change hopes for the nation to a political candidate or party.  This brings about feelings of desperation and hope for an election result and a candidate’s victory.  Christians and “evangelical” groups have spent billions on political activism with little positive social change to show for it (MacArthur  123).  The nation continues to go deeper and deeper into sin.  Second, and closely tied to this thought, is that social change does not mean we change our gospel mission to social activism.  There should be a healthy tension and cooperation between physical and spiritual ministries, Jesus certainly conducted both, but we must not lose this balance.  The gospel should not be modified with the adjective social!  While much good can be done in providing humanitarian aid, working against sinful moral issues in our state, and being an advocate for the poor and oppressed, we must not allow them to replace the message of the  gospel to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10; John 3:16; 6:26-29; Rom. 1:16;  1 Cor. 1:18-31).

WHAT SOCIAL CHANGE SHOULD MEAN FOR THE CHRISTIAN

The Christian is a citizen of heaven who is representing his heavenly Father with good works on earth (Phil 3:20; Mat. 5:16).  “Thus, he must plunge into social and political problems in order to have an influence on the world, not in the hope of making it a paradise, but simply in order to make it tolerable . . .” (Doster).  A Christian is a change agent for our culture because we are called to be salt and light to this dark world (Mat. 5:13-15).  I would suggest there are three principles we can use to guide our decisions about seeking social change.

Compassion to the Oppressed

Daniel’s counsel to the king to show mercy to the oppressed is a common biblical theme.   The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the one who considers the poor, in the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;  the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land” (Ps. 41:1-2).  God has always expected his people to have concern for the poor.  The Law of Moses had various components to provide for the needy and oppressed (Ex. 22:21-24).  The prophets regularly cried out for Israel to care for the oppressed (Isa. 56:1-12; Amos 5:15).  Job in avowing his innocence claims he, as is expected from a righteous, wealthy man, had provided for the poor and widows (Job 31:16-21).  Jesus consistently reached out to the poor and oppressed through his ministry, even pointing to the prophecy of Isaiah as being fulfilled through his work (Luke 4:17-21).  Paul taught Christians to work with their own hands so they could share with anyone in need (Eph. 4:28).  In a world where Christians are considered judgmental and intolerant, we must demonstrate to the world the love of Christ.  Local churches must reach out to single mothers, the divorced, the disenfranchised, the poor, the grieving, widows, and orphans.  When we have mercy on the oppressed we present a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ to the world and open doors to convert those we serve.

Cognizant of our Citizenship 

Christians have a duty to be good citizens of their nation.  Jesus taught us to give our nation their necessary taxation and due, certainly this would involve our concern and dedication for the social well-being of our nation as well.  Paul and Peter teach us to submit to the governing authorities and display proper honor to them (1 Pet. 2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7).  We are to pray for our leaders regularly and recognize the God-given role governments play for the good of humanity (1 Tim.2:1-4; Rom. 13:1-7).  Atheist obey laws, vote, pay taxes, and help needy neighbors, but Christian citizens “feel compelled to give a moral account of their country” (Doster).  The best citizens of a nation should be those who have a higher allegiance to God and care about the moral integrity and virtue of their nation.  Christians have a duty to work through civil authority for the advancement of justice, righteousness, and human good.  Politics determines important issues that are central to the gospel.  Issues like war and peace, abortion, immigration, marriage, human rights, public education, and even our freedom to express our faith are all impacted by the government.  Thus, it should behoove us as citizens to be concerned about local and national leaders and laws.  Good citizens should exercise their available freedoms to vote, advocate, lead, and serve for the good of Christ and country.

Confrontational with the Truth 

Christians must determine to be truth-tellers in a world that is being swept away with the deceit and lies of Satan.  Our Lord’s vision to the seven churches of Asia relies heavily upon the concept of “testimony” or “witness.”  Jesus calls his church, despite their current persecution, to be a witness to the dark world.  They are to hold forth the lamp of truth.   The role of witnesses is to bring the nations to faith in Christ through their testimony of Jesus (Rev. 11-12).  The message for the Christian is to conquer, not through military or political power, but to conquer as Jesus conquered through love, submission to God, and telling truth to the world.  His army wins today through witnessing and death!  Like the prophets of old who spoke God’s truth to a wicked and stubborn people, God calls preachers and Christians today to speak truth!  Yes, we speak truth in love (Eph. 4:15), but we don’t allow the culture’s hateful tone against truth to keep us from speaking truth.  Elizabeth Randle Charles wrote, “It is the truth which is assailed in any age which tests our fidelity . . . If I protest with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity” (Platt 18).  Christians must not sin through silence!  We must be willing to speak truth and the significance of the gospel message into the current cultural issues.

WHILE SEEKING SOCIAL CHANGE WE REMEMBER . . .  

When we seek social change there are three principles we need to keep in mind in order to keep from becoming discouraged and losing heart.

The World Is Going to Be The World

First, we keep in mind that the world is going to be the world.  We have often too quickly believed the concept that America is this great “Christian” nation or that America was perfect decades ago.  We pray that we can “return to God” which implies we used to be with God.  We must remember our history is riddled with various sins and problems.  Christians should expect the world, and the governments of the world, which are run by sinful men to be sinful (1 John 2:15-17).  We should not be surprised when those who are under the influence of Satan do sinful things!

In God we Trust

Second, we must remember what our money has inscribed upon it —“In God We Trust.”  We are strangers and exiles here who are sojourning to our true heavenly country (Heb. 11:13-16; Phil. 3:20).  Before Jesus enters into the long visions of Revelation chapters six through twenty-two, which describe the great spiritual conflict between Christians and the forces of Satan, he first presents the vision of the great heavenly throne-room (Rev. 4-5).  Jesus wants them to know that though it may seem like Rome is the supreme power on earth, Christians are losing on every front, and evil is winning, God is on his throne!  “He is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8).   Just as Nebuchadnezzar learned long ago, God is in charge and is sovereign, even the most powerful king on earth can be made to be a beast of the field through his might (Dan. 4:33-36)!

We Serve Because of Jesus 

A third word of encouragement I would share to social change agents is to be aware that you will fail in overcoming the social ills of our world.  I know this doesn’t sound encouraging, but for the Christian the issue is not about success, but fidelity.  For example, our commission and responsibility is to help the poor and needy.  Righteous people have had this responsibility throughout time and God has a heart for the poor, but Jesus also says, “you will always have the poor with you” (Mat. 26:11).  No matter how much we work to relieve the poor, their will always be poor.  Our motive for serving should be to serve Jesus.  We love others because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).  Christians are not focused on the results, or live under the illusion that a social utopia can ever be developed, the world is going to constantly have problems.  We love and serve because Jesus calls us to be salt and light.  Even our Lord in the days of his flesh did not eradicate all of the sickness, poverty, or social ills.  But he ministered and made a difference in the lives of the ones within the scope of his ministry.  So must we!

CONCLUSION

Christians have a responsibility to seek social change, but we must do it in ways that do not compromise or conflict with our primary message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We must show mercy to the oppressed, be model citizens, and confront the world with truth.  While seeking change we expect the world to be sinful, place our hope in God, and serve Jesus as our motivation!

WORKS CITED

Doster, Richard.  “Politics:  Why Christians Must Be Involved.”  By Faith.  4 Sept. 2014. 15 Sept. 2016.  <http://byfaithonline.com/politics-why-christians-must-be-involved-2/>

MacArthur, John.  Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong:  A Biblical Response to Today’s Most Controversial Issues.  Eugene, OR:  Harvest House P., 2009

Platt, David.  A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture.  Carol Stream, IL:  Tyndale House P., 2015

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Feb 01

What I have Learned about Sheep and Myself!

I have had sheep on the farm since 2014.  We started with two ewes and a ram.  We have an unusual breed of hair sheep called Barbados Blackbelly Sheep.  They are very skittish and flighty.  They aren’t your cute cuddly version of sheep.  We raise them for the meat, which tastes very good.  We recently had two orphaned lambs that we have been bottle feeding.  Our constant care and interaction with these two lambs got me to thinking about this post.

Here are some things we have learned about sheep.

  1. Sheep are Fragile.  Sheep can get sick and die quickly.  Vets, experienced farmers, and my own experience has shown that sheep can turn sick quick and be past saving.  They are especially fragile when they are young.  We had to feed our lambs every four hours.  You can’t feed them too much or not enough because both can cause major problems.  We had one lamb that got its leg broken in the pasture.  They are fragile!
  2. Sheep are Dumb.  Sheep are not known for being smart animals.  They can be trained and worked reliably, but they still come across most of the time as dumb!  While our cows, horses, and pigs tend to pick up pretty quickly to a routine or will work with you to accomplish what is best for them (like moving to a better pasture), the sheep tend to make it really frustrating because they are so fearful and slow.
  3. Sheep need a Leader.  Sheep could not survive on their own.  We have a problem in the south with wild hogs, because hogs can survive on their own.  We don’t have a problem with wild sheep!  Sheep require a shepherd!  Remember Jesus’ famous line when he looked across the multitude, “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).
  4. Sheep think Selfishly.  Sheep, like all livestock, are constantly thinking about themselves.  They are solely concerned about their food and preservation.
  5. Sheep are Fearful.  Our sheep are not brave enough to run away.  If you let them out they will not get too far from the security and comfort of their familiar barn and pasture surroundings.  They have a strong herd instinct.  They move in a big pack and rely on one another.  They long for security and safety.

I have spent this blog post describing sheep, and most of them are unfavorable descriptions.  But stay with me, though you may not like the punch line!   Close to 200 times in Scripture God calls us sheep.  Of all the animals God could have chosen to call Christians, he chose sheep!  After raising sheep for the last three years, I am not sure I like that God chose that description.  But when I am honest and look back on my list about sheep, I realize that I often act very much like a sheep.  I am fragile, dumb, selfish, fearful, and in need of a leader.  If all of us are honest, we must admit the sheep description is pretty accurate!  Which is why we should be thankful that God sent Jesus as the “Good Shepherd” to provide us with love, care, security, and leadership (John 10:11).    

Lewis and Clark – our bottle-fed lambs that followed Brooke to the house.

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Jan 29

No One is Above the Law!

Sheriff Mike Chitwood of Volusia County, Florida was caught by one of his own deputies going 78 mph in a 55 mph zone.  The deputy realized who he had stopped and declined to give his boss a ticket.  When the sheriff reflected on the incident and his own example, he went back to the deputy and asked for a ticket.  “After my day settled down a little bit, I started saying to myself, ‘Let’s see here, we just paid out a $200,000 settlement for a deputy who was speeding and caused terrible injury to somebody,” said Chitwood. ” I was elected to enforce the law and not be above the law.”  Chitwood paid the fine of $281 for breaking the law.

The Sheriff was in the wrong, but he could have still avoided the ticket.  But he realized no one is above the law.  The law is for all people, including law enforcement.  This illustrates a great spiritual truth.  No one is above God’s law.  We all are going to have to pay the fine for our sins.  It doesn’t matter how many good deeds, what our family name is, or how much money we have; none of us are above the law!  We will pay for our sins!

Every person must realize, like the Sheriff did, that we need to own up to our failures.  Before someone can be saved through Christ, they have to first realize they are lost and need salvation.  The gospel is good news because it tells the story of how Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  He paid the ticket for us!  He took on all our sins and suffered as God’s atoning sacrifice.  We are set free and gain salvation through His gift.

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Romans ch. 1-8; Eph. 2:1-10;  2 Cor. 5:18-21

Story – http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/01/24/sheriff-busted-for-speeding-asks-for-ticket.html

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Jan 27

It is Different When The Lightning Almost Hits You!

by Henrik Bernhard at freeimages.com

Byron Nelson tells an interesting anecdote in his autobiography regarding Ben Crenshaw in the 1975 U.S. Open.  Ben was finishing up his third round and walking to the 17th hole when lightning struck nearby.  It scared him so badly that he just flat ran off the course.  A couple of USGA officials in the clubhouse were saying he would have to be disqualified.  As they started out the door to talk to Ben several bolts of lightning struck near the clubhouse, which caused them to scurry back inside!  This changed their thoughts and convinced them to suspend play.  They chose not to disqualify Ben (pg. 205)!

Byron’s story is a good reminder for all of us not to be harsh and judgmental of others.  When we “get out in the weather” and “face the same lightning” they face we will often have a better understanding of why they acted like they did.  Trying to understand others begins by trying to relate to their circumstances.  In order to comfort and encourage one another we need to come along side our friends and walk in their shoes.  It is easy to sit in the clubhouse and disqualify others for their actions, but when the lightning almost hits you, you tend to understand and give grace!  

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Jan 25

A Christian’s Response to the Women’s March

On January 21st, over 500,000 protestors took to the streets of Washington D.C. in what was called the “Women’s March.” Protestors in cities across the U.S. joined in this cause bringing the claimed total to more than a million.  The organizers of the March claimed “the march’s goal was to stand up for equality for all groups, especially women, LGBT folks, people of color, immigrants, and those with disabilities.”¹  The march championed the cause of abortion and homosexuality.  The rhetoric put forward portrayed women as victims, having their personal rights attacked.  They frame the arguments so it is about control of their own body, rather than murder of an innocent child; or about civil rights rather than moral choices.

Trump-WomensMarch 2017-top-1510075 (32409710246).jpg – Wikipedia commons

Conservative Christians, who seek to follow the Bible, are often scorned by such protestors and movements in America today. They believe Christians are bigots, racists, totalitarian, and hypocrites.  Let me suggest a few things for Christians to remember and teach our kids about such rhetoric.

  • God created men and women equal (Gen. 1-2).  Paul says that male and female are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). Jesus was revolutionary when it came to his treatment of women.  He valued and esteemed them as precious souls created in the image of God.  He died on the cross for all people (male and female).
  • Just because the argument sounds good, doesn’t make it right.  Abortion and LGBT proponents have carefully framed their arguments to appeal to the masses.  They appeal to our independent spirit and desire for personal freedom. Yet, they are morally flawed and reprehensible before God.  Christians must continue to put forth the truth that abortion stops a beating heart!  It is the willful killing of another human being.  Homosexuality and bi-sexuality are condemned throughout the pages of Scripture as sinful sexual practices (Rom. 1:21-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-20).
  • Women are the crown of God’s creation (Gen. 2:18-25).  God designed a unique and special role for women, which is different and complimentary to the man’s role (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:21-33; Titus 2:3-5).  They reflect the image of God in their nurturing, love, beauty, kindness, and aptitude for relationships.  They are the emotional center of the home. Women, like men, should seek to fulfill God’s purpose for them in Christ!  They are loved!  They have freedom in Christ, but will only find slavery and bondage in the depths of sin (John 8:31-36).  I can’t help but believe so many of these women marching need to look into the loving eyes of Jesus and hear what the woman caught in adultery heard, “Go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

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¹  http://www.businessinsider.com/womens-march-washington-photos-protestors-stories-2017-1/#on-january-21-half-a-million-people-significantly-more-than-what-organizers-and-the-city-anticipated-came-out-to-washington-dc-for-the-womens-march-on-washington-1

 

 

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Jan 18

Caring for Aging Parents

Hands by Bas Van Der Pluym at freeimages.com

Americans are living longer and our medical system is the most advanced in history!  Both of these seem like wonderful blessings, but in reality they come with new challenges for our present generation.  One of those is the need to provide care to aging family members.

God has always commanded His people to honor and provide for their parents. The fifth commandment was to “honor father and mother” (Exodus 20:12).  Paul taught Christians to be responsibility for taking care of parents and family members in need (1 Timothy 5:3-4; 8). Jesus strongly rebuked the Pharisees for “voiding the word of God” by their traditions because they concocted a tradition allowing them to give money to the temple practically alleviating their duty to care for their parents (Mark 7:6-13).  Jesus declared their worship was in vain because they so twisted the Word of God by rejected this fundamental duty.

Since it is clear God expects us to do it, the question becomes how do we effectively carry out this challenging responsibility in today’s culture.  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Be grateful!  While being the caregiver can be a burden, remember to have a grateful heart as you go through the process.  Many children would love to be able to spend more time with their parents.  Be thankful for the time you are able to have with your parents (1 These. 5:16-18)
  2. Practice the golden rule (Mat. 7:12).  As you try to make difficult decisions rely on the principle of treating your parents the way you would want to be treated and the way they would want you to treat them.
  3. Keep perspective.  Your parents are more than who they are at the present!  Sometimes let your mind’s eye dream of the past when they were a child, a young person, a newlywed, or parent.  Even consider what they were 10 years before and remember to treat them with the dignity and respect that their whole life demands.  It will encourage you and help you keep perspective.
  4. See it as a ministry.  Often when people are caring for a family member they feel guilt because they can’t do their normal service to the Lord.  Let me remind you that your caregiving is a high and noble ministry to the Lord.  You are right where you should be!  You are a powerful witness to the world of the love of Jesus.
  5. Remember that God knows your labor of love.  The Bible assures us that God will not overlook our secret services that often go unnoticed by the world.  You do what God calls you to do and he will bless you (Heb. 6:10; Mark 9:41; Gal. 6:9).
  6. Learn to accept the fact that life inevitably changes.  Most of us don’t like changes, thus we tend to resist them.  We must realize our roles in life will change over time.  Even David the giant slayer was told by his army that he could no longer fight in battle because he was almost killed (2 Sam. 21:15-17).  God desires for us to embrace our position in life and use it for his glory as best we can.
  7. Be attentive to your own emotions and health.  The caregiver must also see to their own needs.  They will battle various emotions and will need space, friends, and spiritual encouragement to carry out their duties.  The caregiver should allow others to help and seek to lean on God.

May God bless and give strength to all those who are caregivers.

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Many of these ideas came from Steve Higgenbotham in “Caring for Aging Parents”  Spiritual Sword (April 2016).

You can also listen to a sermon on this topic in the Audio Resources.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/caring-for-aging-parents/

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