Cleave Not Leave

For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

You can separate two pieces of wood taped together, but you cannot separate without great damage two pieces of wood glued together. Cleaving involves unswerving loyalty to one’s marital partner…

Accepting the Biblical standard for cleaving means asking ourselves when contemplating marriage:
‘Am I prepared to make a lifetime commitment to my prospective spouse, for better or for worse till death do us part? Once married, cleaving means to ask ourselves: Will this action, word, decision, or attitude draw us closer together or further apart? Will it build up or tear down our relationship?

For a Christian committed to living by the principles of God’s word, any course of action which weakens the cleaving must be regarded as contrary to God’s design for a marriage covenant.

Having been married for 20 years, I have come to realize that to cleave means that we are now one. We’re no longer two individuals with our separate agendas and plans. Everything we do affects one another, somehow and some way. We’re now our own family, distinct from the families we grew up in.

Did you note that? We’re “distinct from the families we grew up in” –not an extension. It’s a matter of figuring out together what YOUR mark is to be on the world, as husband and wife –as a team. Those who were once your primary family are now to take a back seat to the priorities, which you mark out as a family. You still love your family and friends, but you no longer allow them to take precedence over your spouse.

What does it mean ‘to cleave’? From Genesis 2, it means ‘to adhere to, stick to, to be attached by a strong tie.’ You might be thinking, ‘Yes, that’s me. I’m stuck!’ But that isn’t the meaning here. In the original Hebrew, this verb form speaks of doing something aggressively. In other words, you’re not stuck to something like on fly paper, trying to get loose. Rather, you’re holding on.

Imagine walking along the edge of a cliff and suddenly lose your footing. As you go over the side, you grab a branch and hold on to it. It’s something you’ve done by will, because your life depends on it. That’s the implication of the word ‘cleave’ here.

Therefore, you must periodically examine your life and ask yourself if any relationship or pursuit in which you are currently involved would put distance between you and your spouse. Will it draw you closer together or drive you apart? Will it build your relationship or tear it down?

It is not always the big things that bring a marriage down. It is often the small things. As the Scripture says, it’s ‘the little foxes that spoil the vines’ (Song of Solomon 2:15). In marriage, it can be neglect, or the unwillingness to hold on tightly to your spouse.

Some questions to discuss before you say ‘I Do’.

Why are we getting married? Pregnancy, financial/social security, loneliness or wanting to get out of the family home are not valid reasons to get married.

What do we as a couple want out of life?

Does religion play an important part in your life?

Do you think faith and spirituality are important in marriage?

What is your image of God?

What are your expectations of our sexual relationship?

Can we both forgive?

How will we make decisions together?

What do you think we’ll be doing in thirty or forty years?

Have you ever hit someone?

Are you willing to replace the toilet roll or clean the dishes?

What values do you want to bring from your family into our marriage?

What do you like and dislike about your parents’ marriage?

What do you like and dislike about my family?

What was your childhood like?

Was your family an affectionate one?

Do I have trust issues or feel insecure?

Do you believe we should be doing everything together?

What are our financial goals?

Do we want to have children?

What is your parenting philosophy?

Do you have any children already?

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Gossip

A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbour. Within a few days the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended. Later the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage.

“Go to the marketplace,” he said, “and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road.” Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told.

The next day the wise man said, “Now go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me.”

The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay, the wind had blown the feathers all away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand. “You see,” said the old sage, “it’s easy to drop them, but it’s impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn’t take much to spread a rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong.”

When talking about others is motivated by thoughts of ill will, jealousy, or attachment, conversation turns into gossip.

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” – I Timothy (ch. 5 v. 13)

Gossip can mean many things, from benignly shared information about someone not present to false rumours insidiously spread, to idle chitchat about someone’s personal life. The question to ask is: What is our motivation when we talk about others? From a Buddhist perspective, the value of our speech depends upon the motivation behind it.

The best antidote to gossip is deliberately and consistently meditating on the kindness of others and cultivating loving kindness toward them. Sit down sometimes and reflect on everything others have done for you since you were born. Start with those who contributed to your upbringing, education, all those who supported you through ups and downs, and all those who encouraged you to exercise your talents. It’s truly amazing how much others have done for us. When our minds become convinced that we’ve been the recipients of a tremendous amount of kindness in our lives, the wish to speak ill of others vanishes. Instead, we become happy to talk about others’ good qualities, virtuous activities, accomplishments and good fortune.

Imagine having conversations in which we talked about people’s good qualities and accomplishments behind their back. Think about it, wouldn’t it be fulfilling in a completely positive way? Speaking about how others have helped us, praising their talents, rejoicing in their decent behaviour, admiring and aspiring to cultivate their good qualities – speaking about all of these uplifts our mind, creates the positive effect of right speech, and helps spread happiness in the world.

Seven Tips for Giving Up Gossip

1. Recognize that gossip doesn’t undo the situation you’re talking about. It only puts in motion another situation based on negative feelings.

2. Know that comparing yourself to others is useless. Everyone has his or her own talents. In this way, give up jealousy and the wish to put others down.

3. Be aware of and transform your own thoughts, words, and deeds rather than commenting on those of others.

4. Train your mind to see others’ positive qualities and discuss them. This will make you much happier than gossiping ever could.

5. Forgive, knowing that people do harmful things because they are unhappy. If you don’t make someone into an enemy, you won’t want to gossip about him.

6. Have a sense of humour about what you think, say and do, and be able to laugh at all the silly things we sentient beings carry out in our attempt to be happy. If you see the humour in our human predicament, you’ll be more patient.

7. Practice saying something kind to someone everyday. Do this with people you don’t like. It gets easier with practice and bears surprisingly good results.

Facing the Enemies Within by Jim Rohn

We are not born with courage, but neither are we born with fear. Maybe some of your fears are brought on by your own experiences, by what someone has told you, by what you’ve read in the papers. Some fears are valid, like walking alone in a bad part of town at two o’clock in the morning. But once you learn to avoid that situation, you won’t need to live in fear of it.

Fears, even the most basic ones, can totally destroy our ambitions. Fear can destroy fortunes. Fear can destroy relationships. Fear, if left unchecked, can destroy our lives. Fear is one of the many enemies lurking inside us.

Let me tell you about five of the other enemies we face from within. The first enemy that you’ve got to destroy before it destroys you is indifference. What a tragic disease this is. “Ho-hum, let it slide. I’ll just drift along.” Here’s one problem with drifting: you can’t drift your way to the top of the mountain.

The second enemy we face is indecision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity and enterprise. It will steal your chances for a better future. Take a sword to this enemy.

The third enemy inside is doubt. Sure, there’s room for healthy skepticism. You can’t believe everything. But you also can’t let doubt take over. Many people doubt the past, doubt the future, doubt each other, doubt the government, doubt the possibilities and doubt the opportunities. Worse of all, they doubt themselves. I’m telling you, doubt will destroy your life and your chances of success. It will empty both your bank account and your heart. Doubt is an enemy Go after it. Get rid of it.

The fourth enemy within is worry. We’ve all got to worry some. Just don’t let it conquer you. Instead, let it alarm you. Worry can be useful. If you step off the curb in New York City and a taxi is coming, you’ve got to worry. But you can’t let worry loose like a mad dog that drives you into a small corner. Here’s what you’ve got to do with your worries: drive them into a small corner. Whatever is out to get you, you’ve got to get it. Whatever is pushing on you, you’ve got to push back.

The fifth interior enemy is over-caution. It is the timid approach to life. Timidity is not a virtue; it’s an illness. If you let it go, it’ll conquer you. Timid people don’t get promoted. They don’t advance and grow and become powerful in the marketplace. You’ve got to avoid over-caution.

Do battle with the enemy. Do battle with your fears. Build your courage to fight what’s holding you back, what’s keeping you from your goals and dreams. Be courageous in your life and in your pursuit of the things you want and the person you want to become.

Source: http://www.jimrohn.com

Life Is Like A Box of Crayons

We could all learn a lesson from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colours but they all have to learn to live in the same box. ~ Robert Fulghum

Imagine how amazing it would be if every family member worked together to make life a little easier for each other; if everyone took the time to find out why another person thinks a certain way instead of starting a fight. Imagine if family members overcame their differences to live in the same house.

Enjoy this story!

Once upon a time there were 8 crayons. They all lived together in a gold and green box. They pretty much minded their own business and did not pay much attention to each other. Until one day one of them said, “I’m so blue and lonely. I’d really like to meet everyone in my box.” He leaned over to the next crayon and said, “You look bright and cheerful! What colour are you?” Well, I am the most important colour, of course! I am the colour of the sun. People would not get out of bed in the morning if it were not for me!

The blue crayon moved to the next crayon. Hello! I just met Yellow. What colour are you? I am the prettiest colour in this box! I am the colour of violets and pansies. My name is Purple!

The next crayon seemed to be having a wonderful time. She was smiling and happy and invited Blue to join her. Welcome! I am Orange. I’m so glad to meet you! Blue felt very comfortable to be with Orange, but wanted to meet everyone else in his box.

The next crayon was very focused on the previous crayons. When Blue approached him, he began whining. Why do I have to be the colour of grass on the ground? I want to be bright and shiny like Yellow. I want to be beautiful like Purple. And, Orange is so warm and inviting that everyone wants to be friends with her. Blue could tell this crayon was Green (with jealousy.)

Blue moved on. The next crayon was hard at work. He could see the dirt under his nails and on his face. He introduced himself. Hi. I’m Blue. The crayon responded, I really don’t have time to talk. My name is Brown and I’m the only one who works around here!

The next crayon Blue encountered was lying down and seemed to be rather sleepy. Blue said, I’m sorry to wake you, but I’m trying to meet everyone in our box. The crayon yawned and said, Oh, that’s o.k. I am so tired. I’ve been out all night while everyone else was sleeping. Others hardly notice that I am the night sky. Could you turn out the lights, please?

Not wanting to disrupt Black, Blue moved on to the last crayon. Blue spoke, I’m Blue. You are the last crayon I have to meet. Red replied, So you met all the others, huh? I’m so important, “I am so pretty, I’m the only one that works, blah, blah, blah.” I’m so tired hearing about everyone else, I just might leave this box!

Blue calls a meeting of all 8 crayons. I’m so glad to have met all of you! He looks at Yellow. You are important, but so is every other colour. If everything were bright and yellow, we would all be wearing sunglasses!

He turns to Purple. Purple is a very beautiful colour, but there are pretty Red roses, wonderful Orange butterflies, and Green grass in the spring.

Brown, you work very hard. Sometimes it helps to stop and take a break. Have a little fun!

Black, you may feel unnoticed but you are everywhere, and not just in the night sky. Your shadows may be hiding, but we still see you.

Looking next at Red, I know it’s hard to listen to everyone else’s problems. But we are all in this box together. Listen to your neighbour’s problems like they are your problems.

Blue’s meeting was successful! Soon the whole box was happy and humble, not jealous and resentful. They lived together in peace and harmony and gradually welcomed new, different colours. Soon they moved to a box of 16, 24, and an even happier 64! Even though there were many crayons, they were still one box!

From this story, we found that the crayons were so different, but had one purpose – to colour!

We live in God’s great big world! And, we are so different! We can appreciate each others’ differences and all live here together in peace and harmony, like the crayons, because we are all children of God!

Story by Amy Loftis

http://childrensministryvault.com/

Humility

Humility is the quality or condition of being humble. One who is humble is modest, unpretentious, unassuming and submissive.

The humble man does not think grand things of himself that exalt him above others. It is not a feeling that he is undeserving, but it is a quality that a leader must have to lift up the weight of the people. The power of strength is in placing it under the weight. The leader cannot pull the people from above. The leader must get under and lift them up.

The idea of Humility is that it is the opposite of pride. We must all, particularly those who are leaders, become more and more humble.

Humility is like underwear, essential, but indecent if it shows.

Let us ask four questions about humility – “what”, “where”, “why” and “how”?

(a) WHAT IS HUMILITY?

(b) WHERE ARE WE TO BE HUMBLE?

(c) WHY ARE WE TO BE HUMBLE?

(d) HOW ARE WE TO BE HUMBLE?

When you are tempted to congratulate yourself for all your giftedness or goodness, remember that your gifts and your goodness come from God, and be humble.

Let us pray (in the words of Thomas Merton); “Lord, give us humility in which alone is rest, and deliver us from pride which is the heaviest of burdens”.

 

Contentment In Life

“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and in cultivating helpful ones in meditation.” – Dalai Lama

A man walked into a mental institution one day and was taken on a tour. The tour saw one cell where the man was beating his head against the padded walls. He kept saying, “Linda, how could you do it? Linda, how could you do it?” The guide explained that the man was in love with Linda, and when Linda decided to marry another man instead of him, he drifted off into the ozone. He couldn’t handle it. They went to the next cell, and there was a man saying, “Linda, Linda, how could this happen? Linda, Linda.” The visitor said, “Who’s he?” The guide said, “He’s the man who married Linda!”

This illustrates to us that the grass is not always greener on the other side! It also teaches us an important lesson. Many times we are not content with where we are at in life and the circumstances that God allows to come into our lives. As a result, we can end up in the spiritual mental ward, if we are not content with what life brings our way. Many people are unfortunately always wishing for more, for more expensive cars and vacations, for that lottery ticket that might give them a big jackpot. They also are looking for better and more favorable circumstances. They think that life has sent them a lemon when things are not going according to their plans and schedules. The fact is this. Some people are never really satisfied with what life brings their way and with God’s sovereign purpose for their daily lives.

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Many people have forgotten that God has a purpose for every phase and change that comes into their lives. It’s our responsibility to walk by faith and experience contentment with God’s sovereign purpose for our lives. In this age of consumerism people often find themselves living for bigger and better things. However, in the end they discover that things never really do satisfy them, even after they acquire them.

When we look to find contentment in things, we will always come up short. This is because material things never can bring true and lasting contentment into our lives. True contentment is not based upon material things but on an inner satisfaction that comes from God.

Many people are beating their heads against the wall and are really crying out, “Lord, I am not satisfied or content with what I have. Give me something else to satisfy me.” Or we might say because of unfavorable circumstances, “God, I can’t take this anymore. I need some change in my life, and if you don’t mind, I would like it right now!” But in the midst of this mental war, which is going on within us, there is a still small voice that is crying out to our soul and saying: Be content with what you have in life and find contentment in every stage and change of life.

What is contentment anyway? Contentment is a spiritual state of satisfaction we can possess in our minds and hearts, in spite of what we have, or what we are experiencing in life. Contentment is when we possess an inner satisfaction of heart in the midst of the changing circumstances or our lives or in spite of the financial and monetary status of our lives. Our health, money, or job status may change, but in the midst of these changes, we can possess an inner satisfaction that comes from facing life in the will of God and accepting His overall purpose for our lives.

Someone said: “All the world lives in two tents – content and discontent.”

Which tent are you living in these days? Here is the main question. How can we experience contentment in life?

The Stench of Hatred

A kindergarten teacher has decided to let her class play a game. The teacher told each child in the class to bring along a plastic bag containing a few potatoes. Each potato will be given a name of a person that the child hates, so the number of potatoes that a child will put in his/her plastic bag will depend on the number of people he/she hates.

So when the day came, every child brought some potatoes with the name of the people he/she hated. Some had 2 potatoes; some 3 while some up to 5 potatoes.

The teacher then told the children to carry with them the potatoes in the plastic bag wherever they go (even to the toilet) for 1 week.

Days after days passed by, and the children started to complain due to the unpleasant smell let out by the rotten potatoes. Besides, those having 5 potatoes also had to carry heavier bags. After 1 week, the children were relieved because the game had finally ended.

The teacher asked: “How did you feel while carrying the potatoes with you for 1 week?” The children let out their frustrations and started complaining of the trouble that they had to go through having to carry the heavy and smelly potatoes wherever they went.

Then the teacher told them the hidden meaning behind the game. The teacher said: “This is exactly the situation when you carry your hatred for somebody inside your heart. The stench of hatred will contaminate your heart and you will carry it with you wherever you go. If you cannot tolerate the smell of rotten potatoes for just 1 week, can you imagine what is it like to have the stench of hatred in your heart for your lifetime?”

Moral of the story:

Throw away any hatred for anyone from your heart so that you will not carry sins for a lifetime. Forgiving others is the best attitude to take!

– Author Unknown.