Every so often, public relations people will do a poll on Americans’ confidence about the future. They check on our level of optimism or pessimism about tomorrow to help investors and marketers decide on whether to advance or pull back.
You know, when people feel like there’s no hope for them, they give up on all kinds of things—their friends, their families, their jobs, their health. They give up on themselves too. Have you ever gone through a bleak stretch... Read More
Do you like blues music? I really do. Even though I grew up far, far away from the Mississippi Delta, there is something about that gritty music that resonates with my soul. I never had to chop cotton or work as a sharecropper to make my living, but I’ve had my own pain and hard times, and those old songs sing to me. One of my favorites is Booker T. Jones’ “Born Under a Bad Sign,” which talks about hard... Read More
Isn’t it extraordinary that God should describe himself in family terms, as a Father and a Son? Or maybe it’s the other way around—that God’s wonderful design for our lives is derived from his holy identity? Isn’t it extraordinary that the Savior came into our world just as we did—born wet and naked, defenseless, scared, and hungry—and that his first needs were met by . . . a mother and stepfather?
Our first redeemed relationship with God is not as... Read More
It is not particularly hard to sound like a Christian. Talking the talk is not too tough—all it takes is some hallelujahs and amens and “I believes.” Looking like an authentic Christian is harder, because when Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me,” he invested his whole life in his commitment.
We live in a country with so many social programs and entitlements that people look to the government first for their needs. St. Paul challenges us to... Read More
Are you a chatterbox family? When you get together, does the emotional level rocket up? Do you all talk at the same time, interrupt each other, and just delight in what’s going on in each other’s lives? If so, you probably drive your in-laws crazy. But even if you aren’t huge talkers, you have probably figured out by now that families need communication.
Talking to each other is oxygen for your family ties. Mom loves your calls. Dad appreciates the... Read More
Are you a proud person? Is pride bad or good?
You have certainly been disgusted at some point by a braggart who was really full of himself. Have you ever been hurt by a woman who let you know that she was far above you? We can all stand to work on humility in our words and tone.
But, you know, there is a good kind of pride, and that is the satisfaction that comes from doing a job well,... Read More
I saw a T-shirt in an airport shop once that said, “Just do whatever I want and nobody gets hurt.” Do you know anybody who acts like that? Do you act like that? It is a family’s job to help each of its members to find fulfillment in serving one another, not in taking from one another. But—some strong-willed people train other family members to wait on them. Are you more of a manipulator or manipulatee?
St Paul has a... Read More
Among the cruelest and stupidest words known to man are the words, “I don’t need you.” These have been flung at family members by disgruntled spouses and angry kids. Nothing could be more wrong.
You only get one set of birth relationships. Our identity and security are wrapped up with these sometimes nice and sometimes foolish folks. Whenever we cut these ties, something dies inside us. Conversely, the more we tend these relationships, the better we take care of them,... Read More
“He Ain’t Heavy; He’s My Brother.” Okay, okay. Corny, ancient pop song of Neil Diamond’s that became an overused cliché. But you know what? It’s true!
Maybe you have a brother or sister who has made a string of bonehead decisions. They’ve used drugs, had children outside of marriage, squandered money, destroyed a marriage, can’t seem to hold down a job. What are you supposed to do? It’s not your job to take care of them, is it?
God says,... Read More