Did You Know?

Seven men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

January

10!  9!  8!  7!  6!  5!  4!  3!  2!  1!!!!!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!  Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?  Did you know that only 45 percent of Americans actually make resolutions?  And only 8 percent are successful in achieving their desired results!?  In the spirit of setting resolutions - and keeping them! - January is Get a Balanced Life Month!

 

Nearly all resolutions are goals to, in some way, shape or form, create a balance in your life.  Something is missing!  Something needs fixed!  Something needs changed!  Something in your life is out of balance!  The thought is, that once these New Year’s Resolutions are achieved, life will be better, balanced, but frequently, we simply find something else that is missing, needs fixed, or needs changed.  Instead of working to solve your unbalance, we should be looking at the cause!

 

What causes an unbalanced life?  An unbalanced relationship with Jesus Christ!  Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:25, 32-33, ESV)  We can try our best to fix everything in our life, but without first seeking and establishing a meaningful
relationship with Christ, we will not find peace or balance!

 

Establishing a balanced life cannot be accomplished in a matter days - or even within a month!  It is a life-long commitment!  Our relationship with Christ is never “good enough,” but will alway require daily maintenance.  Through daily maintenance (Bible study and prayer), we will learn how to create balance in all aspects of our life: spiritually, emotionally, work, family, friends, and individually.  

 

As you contemplate your New Year resolutions, and your plans to fulfill your resolutions, consider if they will truly bring balance to your life.  Is your relationship with Christ in balance?

Slavery!

 

No doubt, to many, that word conjures up images of boats full of Africans, cotton farms in the South, sprawling plantations, and the cause of a violent, bloody war.  Did that war really end slavery?  Did the legislation created after that war really end slavery?  It is estimated that over 20 million men, women, boys, and girls worldwide, are currently slaves today.

 

She was 15 years old when she became a sex slave.  She was a track runner and a good student; an all-American girl.  She had three younger siblings. She lived with her parents in an upper-middle class neighborhood.  She continued living with them while she was trafficked for two years.  Her parents didn't know.  Her siblings didn't know.  Her teachers, counselors, and friends didn't know.  She was too terrified to tell anyone.  She is Theresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor.

 

Theresa accepted a ride home from school from a male classmate she had a crush on at the age of 15.  Instead of taking her home, he took her to a house, raped her, and took pictures of the act.  He then used the pictures to blackmail her, threatening to tell her family, if she did not do as he said.  He also threatened to kill her family  Theresa was terrified.  It took years for her to recover and heal from her two-year ordeal, a process that is ongoing even today, 20 years later.

 

Theresa’s story, unfortunately, is not unique.  It happens to millions of individuals throughout the world every year.  They may not all be in iron chains.  They may not work on plantations. They could live in your state.  They could live in your neighborhood.  They could live across the street.  They could live in your house.  They could be your son!  Your daughter!

  

January was made Human Trafficking Prevention Month by President Barrack Obama in December of 2013, with the goal to increase awareness and dismantle trafficking networks.  Throughout this month, take some time to learn more about Human Trafficking and pray for the safety and release of all victims.

January 2015 is National Family Fit Lifestyle Month

Is Your Family Spiritually Fit?

 

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV)

 

It’s a New Year, which means time for resolutions. Many parents include the goals of spending more time with the family and getting into shape as part of their resolutions. Perhaps appropriately, January is National Family Fit Lifestyle month; encouraging families to change their lifestyles to become healthier.

 

Quick! What is the first part of your plan on how to spend more time with your family and get fit? Is it spending time with the Lord? To truly get fit, you must first consider your spiritual life. Spending time with the Lord every day will not only help you keep and reach your goals, but it will also relieve stress and help you focus on the important matters. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, ESV) Before beginning any transformation in life, lay the request in God’s hands. If you are not sure of where to begin in your daily walk with the Lord, consider our 52 Weeks Bible Reading program and commentary.

 

Next, consider the changes that could be made in your personal, daily life. Can you walk or ride a bike to someplace instead of driving your car? What about food? Instead of going out to eat for lunch, pack a lunch. Or, when out, consider the food your order and the amount eaten. “observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.” (Proverbs 23:1b-2, ESV) Additionally, what about the meals for your family? Do you rely on the convenience of fast food or pizza delivery? Learn to cook! Make preparing the meal a family activity. Let each person chose one meal a week and discover ways to make that meal healthier. If the children are old enough, let them prepare a meal once a week. Not only are you striving to meet your goals of spending more time with family and getting fit, you are also fulfilling your responsibility to teach your children valuable skills that they will use later in life.

 

Finally, get up! Get moving! Get active! Make the time you spend with your family more meaningful. Instead of movie night, go for a walk, a bike ride, or play a game such as Frisbee or volleyball in the back yard. Perhaps try a new activity together as a family.

 

We are to glorify God with our bodies. Having a healthy body, taking care of what has been given to us, is glorifying to the Lord. Teaching children to look after themselves brings glory to the Lord. What other ways can you incorporate a Family Fit Lifestyle into your life?

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