Josh McDowell On Appreciating Our Kids

“Unconditionally accepting your kids tells them that being matters. Expressing your appreciation to them says that their doing matters too. …

“Unless your kids are absolutely convinced that you accept them for who they are, your praise and appreciation can become manipulative. Appreciation without acceptance may prompt your child to relate to you on a performance basis, thinking, ‘If I do a good job … if I get A’s … if I score a goal … then my dad will love me.’ Living on a performance basis will tend to produce feelings of false guilt in your kids. That’s why you need to be sure your kids first feel accepted then appreciated. …

“Appreciate your child’s efforts more than your child’s accomplishments, and appreciate your kid’s worth as God’s creation even more than your kid’s efforts.” —Josh McDowell, in 10 Commitments For Dads

If you are interested in more quotes from 10 Commitments For Dads, you can click here.

10 Quotes From “Cherish”

As I said in my book review of Gary Thomas’s Cherish, this is a must-read for married couples, those about to be married, and those who counsel married couples. Please check out my review, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“Learning to truly cherish each other turns marriage from an obligation into a delight. It lifts marriage above a commitment to a precious priority.”

“In one sense, love is the nurturing aspect of marriage, while cherish is the ‘tasting’ aspect of marriage. Love meets the need; cherish tickles the tongue.”

“If you want to be fully satisfied in your marriage, if you want your wife to feel cherished, then mentally treat your wife like Eve. Let her be, in your mind, in that way, the only woman in the world. Say with King Solomon, ‘My dove, my perfect one, is the only one’ (Song of Songs 6:9 ESV).” 

“You’ve already made your choice. In your ideal world, you have no intention of ever starting over with someone else, so why not put your energy into and your focus on guarding that choice, building on the strengths of that choice, and making yourself ever more grateful that you made that choice?”

“At some point, if you want marital happiness, if you want to learn how to cherish a real man instead of longing for an imaginary composite, some ‘Frankenstein’ husband who somehow has it all, then you have to own your choice and even learn to cherish your choice. ‘My vineyard, my very own, is for myself’ (Song of Songs 8:12 NRSV).”

“The call to cherish isn’t to appreciate being pleasured by your spouse but to take pleasure in the pleasure of your spouse.”

“If we want to cherish our spouses, we must learn to take an active interest in what interests them.”

“Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.”

“The act of consistently noticing and honoring our spouses cultivates and maintains a certain kind of relationship, and it shapes our hearts. Noticing and honoring sustain the force and power of cherishing. When we stop noticing and stop honoring our spouses in the little things, the relationship starves.”

“Active cherishing—noticing and then expressing the excellence you see—is a way to shape our attitudes and to generate feelings of closeness and well-being. When we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will be doubly blessed—our spouses will be happier, increasing the joy in our marriages, and we’ll become happier psychologically as well. Cherishing our spouses literally makes us feel better. So cherishing means waging war on contempt and going on the offense with gratitude.”

I will be sharing more quotes from Cherish soon. If you’d like to be notified when these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the field in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You may also want to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr for other quality quotes I post every day.

Billy Graham On Gratitude

BillyGraham“We hurt people by being too busy. Too busy to notice their needs. Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love. Too busy to listen when someone needs to talk. Too busy to care.”

“The smallest package in the world is a person who is all wrapped up in himself.”

“Gratitude is one of the greatest Christian virtues; ingratitude, one of the most vicious sins.”

“Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict. Be grateful and you won’t grumble. Grumble and you won’t be grateful.”

#MOWT

justice-mercy-graceLast week I blogged about justice, mercy, and grace. Justice is getting the penalty we deserve, mercy is not getting the penalty we deserve, and grace is getting blessings we don’t deserve.

If we are truly grace-full people, then we should be thank-full people as well. As we approach Thanksgiving Day, people are naturally thinking about things for which they can give thanks during this past year. But Christians should be the most full-of-thanks people on the planet, because we have been showered with so much grace! 

I’d like us to think about a word that I believe will increase our level of thankfulness: Appreciation. Appreciation goes beyond merely being thankful for blessings, as it sees the high value in those blessings, and then continually looks for ways to express even more gratitude for them. In other words, appreciation can begin a cycle of gratitude that grows and grows and GROWS!

Check out three parts to the definition of appreciation

[1] Gratitude; thankful recognition. Did you know that being grateful is actually good for you? Research has shown that increasing your gratitude levels increases your:

  • Physical health. “A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart’s rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It’s actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time” —Jon Gordon
  • Emotional health. Dr. Robert Emmons says gratitude decreases envy, resentment, and feelings of retaliation; and increases empathy, emotional resilience, and self-esteem.
  • Spiritual health. Notice how ingratitude is included in the list of a whole lot of ugliness (2 Timothy 3:1-4), but spiritual health is restored simply by being thankful (Ephesians 5:3-4).

[2] Estimating qualities and giving them their proper value. In order to determine value, we must have a standard of comparison. What’s your standard? Is it what your neighbor has? Is it what you don’t have? Or is it thankfulness for what God has given you? 

Max Lucado said, “To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse His accomplishments is to discover His heart. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread.”

[3] Assessing the true worth of our blessings. Assessing leads to appreciation, and appreciation begins to give us a return on investment. I like how Jeff Anderson says it: “If you want to grow your faith, grow your gratitude. To grow your gratitude, take time to count your blessings.”

Remember: gratitude isn’t gratitude if it isn’t expressed. David made his gratitude known, and other afflicted people around him began to join with him in thanking God for His blessings (see Psalm 34:1-3). In other words, David’s thanksgiving went viral!

mowtHere’s how we can make our gratitude go viral: #MOWT. Let’s count our blessings every day, and let’s appreciate what God has done for us. Then let’s share our gratitude not only with God, but with others as well. Post it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram with #MOWT: my one word thanks. Maybe include a photo and “family” #MOWT, or “protection” #MOWT, or even “paycheck” #MOWT.

Let’s give God so much glory for His grace gifts, that we tell the world about our appreciation!

Appreciation

my-appreciationI love the dictionary definition of the word appreciation

  1. gratitude; thankful recognition
  2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value
  3. assessment of the truth worth

How often do you take time to truly appreciate the blessings in your life? Appreciation goes beyond merely being thankful for blessings, as it sees the high value in those blessings, and then continually looks for ways to express even more gratitude for them.

In other words, appreciation can begin a cycle of gratitude that grows and grows and GROWS!

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, it’s a good time for us to remember that giving thanks shouldn’t be limited to just one day each November. Instead, we should learn to continuously appreciate the blessings around us.

Join us this Sunday as we begin a 4-part series considering the value of appreciation. I will be joined by some of my friends as we share what we’ve come to appreciation this past year. I hope to see you this Sunday at 10:30am.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why He came: not to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). … Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death. Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones?” —John Piper

“The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God. … To distrust Him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree.” —Francis Xavier

“Each instant of present labor is to be graciously repaid with a million ages of glory.” —J.W. Alexander

“If God did so much for us when enemies, what will He do, or rather, what will He not do, for us now that we are friends? … If Christ’s death did so much for us, what will not His life do?” —Horatius Bonar

“Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.” —Goethe

[VIDEO] Tim Dilena shares some practical keys for a consistent prayer life.

“I would exhort those who have entertained an hope of their being true converts, and yet since their supposed conversion have left off the duty of secret prayer, and do ordinarily allow themselves in the omission of it, to throw away their hope. If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.” —Jonathan Edwards

“For too many of us, Christian experience is episodic rather than continuous, with a few religious experiences interspersed throughout our lives, which are otherwise lived on our own terms. Such people can see little need or use for prayer.” —Ralph Lehman

Eric Metaxas helps us get ready for Religious Freedom Day on January 16.

[VIDEO] Not just at Christmas when you are receiving gifts, but all year long we should be people of appreciation. Check out John Maxwell’s short video—

Attaboy!

October has been designated as Clergy Appreciation Month. Some pastors live from “Attaboy!” to “Attaboy!” from their congregation, so October is like a feast for them!

But the Apostle Paul has a slightly different perspective on this. More than getting an “Attaboy!” from a church congregation, he is joyful over the “Attaboy!” he hears from God.

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 3:8-9)

Paul’s goal is seeing people who have been changed because of their relationship with Jesus. And these changed lives are all the reward he desires!

YOU ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY! 

Pastor, it’s nice when you get the “Attaboys!” from your congregation. But what’s even better is to help your congregation enter into a deeper relationship with Christ, and then hear the “Attaboy!” from God Himself!

What an amazing joy that we get to play a small role in helping people stand firm in the Lord!

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