7 Days Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays can be fun but also stressful. We compiled a seven day guide to help you live purposefully and cultivate healthy relationships even during this season’s many festivities.

 

Day One: Thanksgiving

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Congratulations! You made it to today! That certainly is just cause to be thankful. Of course your life is not perfect. Maybe things did not go according to your 2017 plans and New Year’s resolution. While there are lots of things to complain and be despondent about, it is far better for your wellbeing to be thankful instead.

So look around. What else can you give thanks for? Here are a few suggestions/hints:

1. Life (means there is still hope for you);
2. Family (means you are not alone in this world);
3. Friends (means there are people who care about you);
4. Co-workers (means you have a job);
5. Home (means you have shelter from the rain);
6. Safety (means you can rest a while);
7. Food (means you have sustenance to keep you alive);
8. Transportation (means you can get to various destinations faster);
9. A church (means you have a place to be spiritually fed);
10. A loving God (means you have a hope for redemption in Jesus Christ).

Meditation: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#thanksgiving #dayone #bethankful #relationships #lookaround #life #family #friends #co-workers #food #safety #transportation #LovingGod #home #Achurch

 

Day Two: Peace

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Peace is a gift not possessed by everyone. Deep inner peace frees you from worry and anxiety. It is not dependent on external conditions. It does not change based on situations and circumstances.

Peace is not a commodity that can be bought, wished for, or developed. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is contrary to worry, fear, and anxiety. Peace tramples on those life robbing dispositions and states of being.

This holiday season, pray for peace for yourself and those around you. Pray for the peace of God to enable you to share about His love and goodness in the midst of your festivities. So whether your holiday gatherings are loud and merry or quiet and somber, pray for the peace of God which far exceeds anything we can ever understand.

Meditation: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#peace #daytwo #innerpeace #HolySpirit #dontworry #prayabouteverything #tellGod

 

Day Three: Compassion

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Can we talk? Let’s talk holiday gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) for a few minutes.
So, you will be celebrating the holidays with family and/or friends. Whether you are hosting or you were invited, you likely will be in the company of people you enjoy and maybe some who require a bit more patience and prayer from you. Chances are there will be at least one instance where a little bit of compassion will go a long way. Hey, for some of you compassion will save the meal, the day, relationships, and maybe an inheritance.

It may not be easy for you to show compassion to your loved one, family friend, or the random person you happen to cross paths with. That person may be engaging in a lifestyle which lies in contrast to how you live your life. That person may have willfully made life choices which resulted in their current situation/ misfortune/ mess (you choose the best word 😉). You may look at this person and be at a loss for words or simply just want to shake your head in amazement. You however, will choose to demonstrate compassion to this person. Why? Because it is what the Lord asks us to do.

So with the help of the Holy Spirit at work within you, compassion will be your response to this person. Then do ensure that you pray that God’s desires will be made manifest in that person’s life and also yours. Today move with a purpose.

Meditation: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#compassion #daythree #relationships #holidaygatherings

 

Day Four: Joy

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The official unofficial start to the hustle and bustle/ endless shopping season is here. This season is dubbed the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed it is probably the most festive time of the year in many, many regions throughout the globe. People generally are happier and carefree.

We certainly should be merry when we turn our attention to the basis of this time of the year. When we strip away the eating and drinking and mass consumerism we can focus our attention on the supernatural birth of the Savior, Emmanuel.

While happiness and merriment are wonderful conditions, the remembrance of this historical event moves us pass happiness and merriment to JOY! Because happiness is a temporary state dependent on external circumstances but joy is a far greater emotion one that can be experienced in times of peace and war, in the face of sorrow and merriment.

Let’s ask the Lord to give us joy remembering that we ought always to be joyful. Let’s ask even as we enter into the largest season of merriment.

Meditation: 

“Always be joyful.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#joy #dayfour #hustleandbustle #Emmanuel #bejoyful #fruitoftheSpirit #happinessvsjoy

 

Day Five: Love

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The lights are going up, wreaths on the door, list making, gift shopping, and Christmas songs have filled the air. The Christmas season is well on its way. It’s like a wave hit our shores and washed over us all. Christmas celebrations have overwhelmed us whether we like it or not. So where are you in this season? What has washed over you and overwhelmed your heart and mind? Hopefully it is the gift of love. You see freely God sent Love to our planet and washed over our World when Christ was born. Many celebrate this gift of love every year at Christmas. We are fortunate to celebrate and benefit from God’s unconditional love. It truly is the best kind of love.

In the Greek language, the language of much of the New Testament writings, the word is agape. Many describe it as a God kind of love. That is only God can love truly in spite of. In our striving to be like Christ we nevertheless can love others and love God through the work of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will allow you to extend His love to others in all you do this Christmas season.

Meditation: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#love #dayfive #agape #loveGod #loveothers

 

Day Six: Patience

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The lines will be long. People will be extremely busy. Things will be out of stock. There will be changes in travel plans. Some people will show up, some people will not. Others will be eager to participate, others…not so much. ‘Tis the season for a whole lot of this and then some. You are likely to experience some kind of disappointment this season because disappointment is enviable. It is a part of humanness.

Exercise patience in the face of this all. Patience calls for restraint in the absence of anger. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Therefore trying to patiently survive this holiday season in your own strength will be difficult if not impossible in the absence of the Holy Spirit. So enlist the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask with confidence knowing that God wants to be in communication, in relationship with his creation.

Meditation: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#patience #daysix #bepatient #disappontment #restraint #fruitoftheHolySpirit

 

Day Seven: Kindness

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It’s easy to be kind to the people you like and love. It’s a bit more difficult to demonstrate kindness to neighbors, strangers, and people who “rub you the wrong way”. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. You are having a great day. The kind of day where you could easily run and have a “mountain top experience”. Then out of nowhere comes this person who you would rather not encounter. Here they are however, approaching you or already in front of you. You see them. They see you.

These are the encounters that really “test our faith”. It’s easy to repeat “Christianese” especially when things are going well. (i.e. I’m too blessed to be stressed.). It is an entirely different situation when you are face to face with a situation of testing. Every situation of testing; every person you may encounter that you are not very fond of, can be traversed successfully. For the testing of your faith will bring about patience.

The gift of kindness equips us to “experience victory” even when we encounter that unexpected situation or person. Kindness is a condition of your heart. With a heart full of kindness you are equipped and then able to demonstrate good works to others. It is only developed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord help us to be kind to our neighbors and do them no harm.

 

Meditation: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬

#kindness #dayseven #bekindtoyourneighbor #forgive #test #testingofyourfaith #tooblessed #Christianese

Continue reading “7 Days Holiday Survival Guide”

The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

Topic: Effective Communication
Goal: Overcoming Negative Communication: The Silent Treatment/ Passive Aggressive Behavior

“What’s bugging you?” “What’s eating you?” “What’s the matter?” “What’s wrong?” “You don’t look yourself.” “You’re not acting the same.”

Something is wrong. Everybody knows it. Everyone sees the change in your demeanor. You really are acting differently. You however, are putting on a show. You are upset but you refuse to address the situation. As least you refuse to admit and address it right now. You most likely will address it in a few hours, a few days, a few months, but it is coming. And oh the firestorm that will ensue.

You may be feeling overwhelmed. You may feel hurt. You may be having a difficult time processing your feelings. These are all normal feelings. Your behavior exhibited in light of these feelings however, may not be appropriate or helpful for your relationships.

So, how can you best share your feelings with the people around you? More importantly, the people that love you? How can you process your thoughts and express your feelings without lashing out, without hurting others, or without hurting yourself?

First, lets understand and agree that communication is paramount. How you communicate with your spouse and/ or your family members will color the nature of your mutual relationships. Given that these individual relationships are ones you wish to cultivate, here are a few steps to help you move pass one of your negative communication patterns.

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1. Take a figurative or literal deep breathe. Journal. Pray. Meditate on Scripture. Schedule an appointment with your counselor.

Employ a method or methods where you can take time to collect your thoughts, clearly process your feelings, and gain some perspective.

2. After taking some time to collect your thoughts, process your feelings, and gain some perspective, your next step is to engage your loved one.

Start by expressing your gratitude to your loved one for their concern. Again, provided this is a healthy relationship that is reflective of mutual empathy, consider that your loved one is most likely trying to help you. The manner in which they demonstrate this help may not be exactly what you need or appreciate. Nevertheless, try to consider that person’s perspective. Of course you will never really know unless you effectively engage your loved one.

3. Clearly communicate your feelings to your loved one.
Use I statements to express your feelings rather than blaming your loved one for their actions. (Ex. I felt sad when you…)

4. Allow your loved one to also express their feelings.

5. If you and your loved one aren’t able to effectively arrive at a mutual understanding, you may consider enlisting the help of a trusted advisor or professional counselor.

For Meditation:
1. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭‬‬

2. A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭‬

Remember, it takes time to change behavioral patterns. Give yourself and also your loved one some grace. Let’s communicate in love.

On Fatherhood

Daddy, Dad, Step-Father, Papa, Papi, Pops, Dada. There are countless names the world over used to identify fathers.

Sure, Fathers do not carry babies in utero or give birth to children. Those are special blessings given to woman, mother. There nevertheless are enormous responsibilities given to fathers.

Fathers are called to be providers, protectors, and the priests of their homes. Children need their fathers and women need husbands to serve responsibly in these capacities.

Countless women have served faithfully in the role of provider, protecter, and praying mother over their households. Their sacrifices should never be overlooked, devalued, or underestimated. Timothy was raised by his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois after his father died. The role these women played in the life of Timothy is insurmountable. In the absence of these godly women, Timothy may not have become of one the greatest carriers of the gospel. Later the apostle Paul stood in the gap to mentor and help Timothy move into his destiny, his place of inheritance.

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The role of father however, is one which cannot be replicated. It is best executed under godly leadership and counsel. There is a special covering and there are special blessings and lessons which fathers can impart to their children. We pray that our Fathers will endeavor to/or continue to serve faithfully in their God given roles.

 

Your Legacy

How will your children remember you?

Take a moment to reflect on the memories you have of your own parents?

The impressions we make have lifetime implications on our children. These will affect their perceptions of this world, their work ethics, the type of friends they choose, and the persons they choose to be their husbands or wives respectively.

Work generally is a priority in our lives and we seem to get busy as overpacked suitcases busting out of the seams. Is there room for anything or anyone else?

God holds us responsible for the children He entrusted to us. Our children should be one of our foremost ministry priorities. Do not fall asleep at the wheel of parenting.

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Here are some ways that you can love and encourage your children:

1) Focused Attention: Give them time and make them a priority.

2) Individual Affirmation: Be their cheerleader. Accept and encourage their unique individuality.

3) Genuine Appreciation: Celebrate the good and extend patience with their growing edges.

4) Provide Affection: Demonstrate this in tangible ways so they can feel and uniquely experience being loved.

Our children need us to be encouragers. Would you rather them receive love and encouragement from others except you? Think about it and decide what you will sustain or do differently for your children today. The starting point is Jesus Christ and we must apply His demonstrated love with the parental message of love in our own families.