Archive for tag: The three little pigs (2)

20. Conclusion

The Lord wants us to enjoy our lives. He loves us very much, so much so that He came in person to die for our sins, so that we can have eternal life with Him. And that is going to be even greater than anything we can ever imagine or dream!

And He wants us to enjoy our lives on earth as well. He came to give us life and life in abundance. He lives in all His fullness in us and all His promises are yes and amen in Jesus Christ!

But we need to do our part as well. We need to make sure that we give priority to the things that matter the most and spend less time on things that will wither away one day.

First of all we must give priority to our relationship with Him. He is the One we should search for, He is the One we should strive to know better, He is the One we should adore and honor. Jesus Christ should be our cornerstone and our foundation. We cannot move an inch forward if we are not moving in sync with Him.

Then second of all we should give time and priority to our relationships. We should make special time with our spouses, our kids and our family/close friends and also in that specific order. Nothing on earth, and especially not your work, is more important than them. They are the only 'thing' you can 'take' to heaven and into eternity. Don't you think it is worth the time and the effort to teach them about Jesus and to nurture them in a loving relationship with Him? Don't you think it is worth it to be Jesus' Hands and Feet to them and to live an example? Remember always, charity starts at home. They need to see and experience your love.

And thirdly you need to look after yourself, the Temple of God. If you don't and you are worn out and depressed, the Lord cannot use you for bigger things. You cannot rise up to be all God created you to be, if you don't even have the strength to look after yourself. And at the end of the day the whole Body of Christ will suffer. You have a unique role to fulfill and to bless other Christians with, but if you don't take care of yourself you won't be able to do that.

Stand up and be all you were created to be. Be a blessing to others and be a devout child of the living God. Represent Him in every way to a fallen world. Then you will find the true meaning in life and find an inner peace that you are fulfilling your role here on earth and making a difference in this sinful world.

Lord God, thank you for creating us, each with a special purpose to fulfill. Thank you that You believe in us. Help us to prioritize our lives in such a way that You will be in first place, help us to look after our relationships and also after ourselves. We can only do it in Your strength. In Jesus Name, Amen.

19. The bricks in our lives (12)

I have discussed various ways to look after yourself these past few weeks. We need to look after ourselves as we are the temple of God. We need to portrait His love to the world and if we are tired and worn out, we do not have anything to give. We cannot give what we do not have. And therefore we need to look after ourselves on a physical level as well. Now what I am about to say is not news to you, I am sure of it, but sometimes it is good to recap again some of the knowledge we already have.

Our bodies need to be nurtured in order to function at our best. When my boys were smaller I didn't get much sleep in. They were not the best of sleepers from birth and I was up most of the night alternating between the two. So I didn't get the rest my body needed and you know what, it affected everything I did. My temper was shorter than usual, I felt depressed for no reason, my memory was affected, my relationship with them was a bit strained etc. In short I couldn't function at my optimum best, because my body was not looked after. And I therefore I couldn't be all God wanted me to be.

This is just a short illustration of what goes on in all our lives. You might be working very long hours, you might be travelling a lot for work, you might be in a bad space emotionally, but the point is it is very important that you do look after your body. If your body is looked after, you will function so much better and be able to achieve what God intends for you. If you feel good physically, you are in a much better emotional state to reach out to others and be the witness that God wants you to be. Here are a couple of things (you know most of them, but let's recap) that will help your body cope better in today's stressful lifestyle:

  • Sleep a good 7-8 hours a day. I know people who sleep 4-5 hours a day and claim to be fine with it, but the experts tend to agree that 7-8 hours is the norm for healthy living;
  • You must make time for yourself, be quiet for at least 15 minutes a day (It is a pit stop for the soul). I know it is difficult. Even if you need to lock yourself in the toilet or get up ten minutes earlier, you need your quiet time to commune with God.
  • Commune with nature and get a bit of sun every day. The Lord is in each ray of sunlight and in each leaf or flower you touch.
  • Breathe in deeply at least 20 times a day and give your brain the oxygen it needs;
  • Get some exercise, even if it is just by taking the flight of stairs at work instead of the elevator or walking around the block. Your body will stagnate if it doesn't get the oxygen flowing through the blood;
  • Eat moderately (eat live foods like fruit, vegetables). It is difficult I know. I also love a chocolate now and again, but at least try to get more healthy food in. Also try and chew more, your food will digest easier and you will feel full and thus eat less;
  • Try and read 20 minutes a day something that will build you up and nourish your soul. Reading your Bible must be at least a part of the 20 minutes. It is God breathed and when you read it, it is as if you are inhaling God's breath, His strength and His power.

Our bodies need to be looked after, it is our responsibility. And the greater your body feels, the greater you will feel and the more you can achieve for God. Be proud of the body God gave you. Look after it and help it to give it its best shot. You are worth it.

Lord, please help us to look after our bodies with special care. You made it with precision and entrusted it to us. Please help us to be good stewards. Amen



18. The bricks in our lives (11)

I truly believe that one of the key ingredients to being truly happy is being content with what you have and who you are. In our society it is also one of the most difficult things to do, as people are taught to always want more than what they have. It is very difficult to reach a point where enough is enough. I think in our materialistic world it is advertised to us that we need more to be really happy. If we have this car we will be fulfilled, if we have this ring we will be so happy, if we have this house we will live happily ever after, if we have this cell phone or latest gadget people will look up to us. And you know what, it is all a lie. The opposite is rather true, you will find fulfillment with what you have if you are happy within yourself.

Now I am not saying don't ever buy something nice for yourself (I love shopping when I have a chance), I'm not saying stop striving to be the best you can be. If you do your best and you make money in the process then that is great. You can use it to the blessing of all. All I am saying is that you shouldn't find your happiness in things. Sure it is nice to drive a new car, it does make you happy for a while, until the next model comes out and you realize that yours isn't that nice anymore. Then you immediately contact the car dealer for the latest model to make you happy again. For a while, until the process repeats itself again.

Trying to keep up with the Jones's is tiring! There will always be someone richer than you, always someone more beautiful, someone more successful etc. True peace comes when we can accept this fact and be grateful for what we have. You will find a load coming off your shoulders. You are okay just as you are. I realized the other day how we can 'hurt' God, by being ungrateful with the gifts He has given us. We are so quick to tell Him that we actually wanted the gift He gave to someone else. It is like a slap in the face. God deserves our heartfelt gratitude, because He looks after us. He made you beautiful, He made you brimming with talents, and He made you perfect for His Kingdom. He is pleased with who you are and the time has come that you be pleased too.

Take a piece of paper right now and write down at least 5 things that you can be grateful for. I am sure that once you get started, you will write down more than 5. Now take this piece of paper and put it up somewhere even if it is in the inside of you closet and thank God for those things every day. Soon you will be adding things and the moment you feel the spirit of envy creeping up on you, read those things out loud and thank God for it. Have a Spirit of thanksgiving; the Lord will smile at you. And you know what, before long you will be smiling yourself!

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever." Psalm 16:11

Thank you Father for being a God of more than enough. We apologize that we are not grateful as we should be. You have blessed us with so much and we glorify Your Name! Thank you very much! Amen


17. The bricks in our lives (10)

The Bible is quite clear on another aspect of our lives and that is that we should strive to attain wisdom. And by striving towards it we also find ourselves in a fortunate position of growing spiritually. And through growing spiritually we discover a wealth of treasures hidden in the Word of God. What an exciting prospect!

The Word of God quite specifically says that we should strive to attain wisdom. We should run after it as if we are chasing a monumental treasure!

"Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or a hidden treasure." Proverbs 2: 2-4

Now wisdom is such a massive concept. How can we be wise? How do we attain it? I think we can write thousands of books on this subject alone, but let's focus on the basics for now. The Bible is quite specific about attaining wisdom. I think for a start we can look at the verse above and start by listening more than we speak. I am sure that the Lord made two ears and only one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much and think carefully before we speak, as life and death is in the power of our tongue.

We should allow the Holy Spirit to help us to respond to and deal with situations in the correct way. We should be discreet and realistic and allow His Spirit to empower us to make the right plans. We should make the most out of life, be open to correction and reproof, and above all value the truth.

The Bible also specifically warns against being a fool. Some of the characteristics of a fool mentioned are the following: being ignorant, arrogant, aimless, careless, argumentative, want everything on a plate, doesn't think for oneself, prefers fantasy to fact and illusions to truth.

Now I think if we read the list of actions related to a fool and those related to being wise, it is natural to want to lean towards being wise, but it is easier said than done. It is easier to retaliate when someone hurts you, it is easier to receive everything than to think for yourself, it is more convenient to dream dreams than to actually get up and do something about it, it is hard to be open to correction and reproof, it is hard to be discreet when your ego cries out for recognition. It is hard I know. I battle with it myself. But thank God that He is there to help us with the battle. Thank God that He doesn't condemn us, but that He came to set us free.

We should ask the Lord daily to gain wisdom. Ask Him to help you on a step by step basis to walk the steps towards true wisdom. Restrain yourself from foolish activity and focus on your only true source of inspiration, Jesus Christ. Step by step you will attain wisdom, and though the progress of growing we will find ourselves happier than we have ever been, more at peace with ourselves and with others. I will end of with two powerful scriptures of Paul declaring that we must pray and ask God for spiritual wisdom. May God bless you.

"We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while you will learn to know God better and better." Colossians 1:9, 10

"I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God." Ephesians 1:16, 17

Father God, thank you for being there for us. Thank you for instilling wisdom into our spirits. We want to grow in knowledge and stature in You. In Jesus Name. Amen


15. The bricks in our lives (8) (1)

We are currently discussing the ways in making your 'home' here on earth steadfast against any storm it may face. We have discussed making Jesus your foundation and your family your bricks and now we are looking at yourself and how you can also influence the strength of your home.

We have discussed various things and you are welcome to look at what we have discussed thus far. Our discussions have ranged from making the most of the present moment to renewing your thought life. The Lord has been gracious in teaching us so much.

Today I would like to talk about the way we wake up in the morning. It might sound ridiculous, but the way we wake up often time influences the rest of our day. There is truth to the saying: 'She most probably got up from the wrong side of the bed this morning.' I must be honest I have experienced it myself. I have had days where I get up in a foul mood, I didn't sleep well, or I am not looking forward to the day ahead or whatever the case may be, and then the rest of the day is down in the dumps. I am then unreasonable and selfish, I try to compensate, but before I can help myself I do it again. And so the day goes. Sounds familiar?

But the more I grow in the Lord, I realize that we need to wake up knowing who we are in Christ. There is profound power in realizing that. We need to remind ourselves again that we are forgiven, deeply loved and filled with God's grace. We need to remind ourselves that we are part of His Kingdom, part of something so much bigger than we are. We need to remind ourselves that we are ambassadors of Christ and we need to portray Him to the world and place Him in a good light. That is very important and definitely something waking up for. No matter your occupation, we are all in the service of God. We are all the light the world needs to see! Remind yourself that God is control and want what is best for you. Maybe even quote a Scripture out loud to the likes of:

"My future is in Your Hands." Psalm 31:15

"I trust in You my God." Psalm 25:2

Say it out loud. There is so much power in your tongue, much more than you realize. Be determined to start your day off well. It may even be your best day yet. Live it to the glory of God, live to exalt Him.

And when you live for His glory live to the fullest as if this is your last day. As I am writing this piece there are many preachers proclaiming that the rapture is imminent and that Armageddon is only a couple of years away. Now I don't believe anyone really knows, but it made me think. What if it really is tomorrow? How will I change my behavior today? Will I call my parents and tell them that I love them? Will I reconcile with someone that's angry with me? Will I give away extra money today? Will I be extra friendly to everyone I see today? Will I give my children extra hugs and kisses and tell them that I love them very much?

But then the question remains, shouldn't I do those things anyway? Shouldn't I shower love on all around me anyway? Shouldn't I reconcile with people anyway? Shouldn't I buy a blanket for someone who doesn't have any? Shouldn't we be God's Hands and Feet every day, even if it is not our last?

We need to get up in the mornings with a smile on our faces (and I am talking to myself now as well!!) We need to see the positive and we need to trust God for His provision. We should live as His ambassadors, ready to draw a lost world to Him. This could be our best day yet, don't delay in doing good.

Lord thank you for each wonderful day that You give us. Thank you for so many blessings that lie and wait for us. We cannot wait to discover them. In Jesus name. Amen




















14. The bricks in our lives (7)

Welcome back. I truly hope that these past two weeks you tried to live more in the present moment. I hope you tried to enjoy your life more and find the good in the phase of life you might find yourself in at the moment. The most amazing thing I found from living in the present moment is the incredible peace that came over me, because if you live in the present, you don't need to worry about the future. After all Jesus said:

Matthew 6:34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries."

We can plan, we can dream, we can save, but we shouldn't worry. The Lord will provide. He is in control.

Now this week I would like to focus our attention on trying to live a more simplistic life. Now I am not saying that we should all return to the dark ages and live lives like monks, but we need to try and simplify our lives. Our lives are so rushed, so busy, our schedules are packed to full capacity, that actually we cannot cope with it all. It becomes too much. We need to try and find a midway. We need to try and release ourselves from some of the commitments we feel we should honor. Our bodies were not designed for the type of stress we are putting ourselves under. We need to learn to say no to certain things.

I know we all want to be in the thick of things. We are so scared that we would lose out if we don't attend all the events. And yes I am even talking about church events. You cannot be everywhere all the time and you cannot be everything to everybody. That is Jesus and the Holy Spirit's job. He is the only One that can truly be everything that everyone needs. Your body needs to recuperate and it needs time alone with its Maker. Your spirit is one with Jesus' Spirit, and the more time you spend with Him and according to His Kingdom principles, the more life and energy will flow into your mortal body. But if you do not make time for Him because you are too busy, your body will not be able to cope.

I was like that at one stage. I just started working, and every single night after work I attended some or other social/church event. I was running around, I never said no to any invitation and I never stopped for a breather. I was everywhere and I tried to be everything for everyone. I felt popular and that I am making headway socially. Due to my hectic schedule my voice started to give me trouble because I talked way too much (I know it sounds funny, but later on it was a real problem). It hurt every time I opened my mouth, but did I stop my social calendar? No, I hated not being in the thick of things. I was so sure I will miss something. My parents even advised me to slow down as they realized that it was not good for me to go on like this, but I wouldn't listen. And do you know what forced me to stop? I tore my ankle ligaments at a sporting event of the company that I was working for. I had to wear a plaster and walk with crutches for 6 weeks and above all I couldn't drive. I was stuck. I was brought to a standstill. I couldn't go anywhere and I couldn't attend all my social engagements. I was devastated. How was I to cope with no schedule, nowhere to go? How was I going to get through this? What is going to happen if I am not everything to everyone? And do you know what happened? Nothing. Most of the 'friends' I spent so much time with called once and didn't bother to call again. They went on with their lives and got someone else to be everything to them. They had a social schedule to attend to.

You see we are not built to go full steam ahead all of the time. We need time to recuperate and allow the Lord to work in our lives. We need time alone with Him to hear His Voice and listen to His Plans for our lives and not simply rush forward. I wonder sometimes what would have happened if I wasn't brought to a standstill? I would most probably have continued that way and I would have missed the special time I had alone with Him. I would have missed His gentle voice telling me of His Plans for me. I would have missed His supernatural guidance in my life. I would have missed Him. And that would have been a tragedy!

The time I was brought to a standstill was one of the best times in my life. I had peace, I didn't feel rushed and I felt physically good (except for my ankle of course, but it healed in due time.)

Focus on what is important in life. Give yourself a rest and look upwards. The Lord will give you the strength to continue and the grace to know His full plans for your life. Allow His Spirit to rush through your soul and to provide you with much needed life. And life in abundance! Go on and try it, it is truly liberating

Please forgive us for valuing human opinions more than we value Yours. Please help us to follow Your gentle Voice and to listen to You. Give us the rest we need and help us to stand still once in a while. We love you. In Jesus name. Amen

13. The bricks in our lives (6)

We are continuing the theme of what is important in our lives. We have looked at our faith and how God should receive the number one position in our lives. We have looked at our family and friends and how important our relationship to them is. And we are now looking at how important it is to look after yourself in order to fully enjoy this wonderful life that God has given you.

First of all we said we should concentrate to look after our thought life, in order to maintain good and pure thoughts. We also said that we must give the Holy Spirit free rein in us and by so doing bring forth His fruit and portrait Jesus to the world. And the more the Spirit takes hold of us, the happier we will be.

Today I would like to discuss the power of living in the here and now, the power that lies in living in the present moment. A lot of people forfeit that power by longing for a better future. I've heard a lot of people saying something to the effect of: I'll be happy when I can finish studying, I'll be happy when I get married, I'll be happy when I have kids, I'll be happy once the kids grow older, I'll be happy when I can stop working, I'll be happy when I can retire, I'll be happy when I can have grandchildren and so on and so on. And before you know it your life is over. You have wished each special part of your life to be over. And the sad part is that you can never have it back again. There is an amazing power in enjoying the present moment.

I am talking to myself today as I find myself frequently wishing that this particular year is over. The Lord has given me a special assignment this year, but it is not a very popular assignment in the eyes of the people around me. They all want me to join my profession again and to continue on a path that I know is not right for me at the moment. So it is tough for me to be surrounded by people who don't understand the Lord's plan for me. So I often find myself wishing that this time of testing and being obedient to the Lord would end. But the Lord rebuked me and said that He gave this year for me as a gift to grow closer to Him by doing what He requires of me. I shouldn't listen to what other people are saying. He wants me to follow Him. And above all He wants me to enjoy the present. If it wasn't for the comments of other people I would be loving this year, but because I listen to them, I am feeling down in the dumps. But I made a decision just this week that I am going to enjoy the here and now. I am going to enjoy every minute of it, because the Lord is in it with me. He is strengthening me and He is guiding me where I need to go.

After all in Psalm 32:8 He says; "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advice you and watch over you."

Isn't it an awesome verse? An amazing comfort. The Lord will direct our lives and we can be safe in it, knowing that He knows best. He is the great I AM, not the I WILL BE or the I WAS. God is present in the present and if we continue to live in the here and now, we will be comforted in His Divine Presence!

Now of course you can dream dreams for your future and you can make plans for what lies ahead and be responsible with your money. You can visualize yourself as you would like to become and talk to the Lord about it, but never forget the present moment. That is why it is called the 'present', as it is truly a gift from God. The Lord is in today, we just need to look out for Him. He will display Himself to you if you are willing to search for Him.

Father God, we are humble in knowing that You will direct our paths. You are the One that walks in front and opens up the doors for us. We are determined to start enjoying the here and now. In Jesus' Name. Amen


12. The bricks in our lives (5) (1)

As I have mentioned before, if your foundation (your faith) is rock solid and you built your house with Jesus as the cornerstone and time with your family as your bricks, then you are ready to face any curveball that life can throw at you. At least you know your house will stand.

Now looking after yourself inside the house made with bricks is also important. We have discussed your thought life and how it affects everything you do and how you should nurture your thoughts to think only pure thoughts, in order to give you victory in life.

Another way to walk in victory is to apply the fruits of the Spirit in your life. In case you cannot remember them all, here they are again; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I know it is easier said than done. We do not always feel like wearing them like a necklace and embracing every situation with them. In our rushed life, we do not even have time to think about them, let alone memorize them. Life is not that easy. It is difficult to be patient, when a slow moving truck moved right in front of you when you are already late for a meeting, it is difficult to have peace, when there is gossiping all around you, it is difficult to be faithful when the secretary looks sexier than ever, it is difficult to exercise self control when someone parked on your parking space, it is difficult to love someone with a godly love, when all they do is use you for their own benefit, it is difficult to have joy when your husband has been retrenched, it is difficult, I know.

But despite all this know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. He is the One displaying the fruit. You cannot do it out of your own strength. You will most certainly fail. The only way to succeed is to grow closer and closer to Him that lives within you. Allow Him to take over the reins of your life. Allow Him access into all areas. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit, but be free to allow Him to move. God loves a willing spirit. The closer you grow to Him, the more freely His fruit will flow. And when it does it will lead to an inner peace in your life and a sense of perfect harmony. Despite storms raging around you, your house will stand.

Remember what the Word of God says:

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." Galatians 5:24, 25

Let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. God wants us to represent Him here on earth and with His Spirit to lead and guide us, we will portrait His love to the world on a whole new level. Give Him free rein to display the fruit of His Spirit through your daily life. You will stand amazed, it will be worth it.

Lord Jesus, You are awesome and we are so glad that You can be our cornerstone. Thank you for assisting us in our life's journey. Please help us to grow so that the fruit we show will be the fruit of Your Spirit. Amen


11. The bricks in our lives (4) (1)

If your house's foundation is right (your faith in God), and your cornerstone is right (Jesus Christ), and your bricks are right (quality time with your spouse, children and close family), then you can start living in your house. You will be ready to weather any storm, because your house would be strong enough to endure. Now you can start looking after yourself, the Temple of God. You need to make sure that you are in the best shape you can possibly be in, in order to be able to do what God wants you to do. I am going to talk a bit more about how to look after yourself in the next few weeks.

I spoke last week about getting your house in order. God is a God of order and cleanliness and therefore we need to look after ourselves and grow in Christ to be the best we can be.

First of all we need to get our thought life in order. We need to start thinking about what we are thinking about. We cannot allow random thoughts to come in and mess up our neat house. I always thought that we don't have any control over what comes into our minds, but we do! This is such an intense subject, I can continue for weeks on this, but the point I would like to make now, is that thoughts can influence your whole life.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do." Proverbs 4:23

I would like to repeat it; it affects everything you do. That is why it is so crucially important that you don't allow any thought to simply slip in. You need to focus on what is good and pure, you need to practice it.

The other day I was upset over something and I had to go to that person and clear the air. Now I could only see the person in a weeks' time, so I practiced what I wanted to say to her all the time in my head and every time I got upset all over again and it ruined my day. I then forced myself to stop. I realized that it is not going to help to rehearse what I was going to say for the whole week and be upset all the time. It was stealing my joy. I then purposefully stopped myself every time I wanted to think about it. I forced myself to be in the moment and to enjoy the here and now. I will think about the situation again when I see her. And you know what, it worked. I wasn't upset for the rest of the week and cleared the air the next. We have power over our thoughts and we need to exercise it.

Another good idea is to memorize Scripture and to verbally say it out loud every time your thoughts drift in the wrong direction. Something in the order of "Thank you Jesus for being here with me. Thank you that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you that You created me in Your image and that I am wonderfully made. Today is the day that You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Therefore I look forward to this day and all that You have in store for me."

The Lord wants to bless you and He wants you to obtain victory over your thoughts. In your thought life lies the key to unlocking a lot of potential in your life. And of course the devil knows this and wants to soil your mind with his evil thoughts. But ignore him and focus on God and on what goes on in the heavenlies. Therein lies great power.

"Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:2

Lord, thank you for giving us the victory through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you that we can walk through this life with You and that You will give us the strength to control our thought life. Amen


9. The bricks in our lives (2)

The first and most important brick in our lives is the Lord; in fact Jesus has become the cornerstone on which we should build our houses. Our faith should be our foundation, without which our houses won't be able to stand. He should be our number one and should be our first love. We should dedicate everything we have and everything we do unto Him. He should be our everything!

2. Our family

Now the second most important brick in our lives is our family. Starting with our spouse, our kids, our parents and then on to our siblings, far off family and friends that sometimes feel closer than family.

This is also what Jesus tells us to do, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31

They are the people that matters most in your life and the ones who should receive second place.  I am convinced that at your deathbed they are the ones you would want there with you, holding your hand and telling you that they love you. Definitely not your broker, lawyer and shareholders, I can promise you that!

Then why do we battle to make them the second priority? Why are we inclined to organize our lives in such a way that they receive maybe fourth or fifth place? Is it because we think that they would understand that we are busy building our careers? That we need some time to ourselves and that we need recreation that takes the whole day on Saturdays, every Saturday?

I think most of us want to receive recognition from the world, and in the back of our minds we think that our family will always be there, whether we spend quality time with them or not. But the truth is the cement of your house is your relationship with them as well as the quality time you spend with them. Without that cement your whole house will come tumbling down. Words are no substitute for deeds, and neither are presents. It is only your presence that really counts.

One preacher once said that whenever it was one of his children's' birthdays he would make sure he was home. Even if he was in China for a business trip, he would fly back for their birthday and fly back to China the next day. And you know what, I do believe that those children felt much more loved, than when he simply picked up the phone and called them. Well for some people a call would be a starting point as they forget birthdays all together and when they claim that they care about you, you struggle to believe them. Now I am not saying you must do what this preacher did, but make the effort and go the extra mile for those closest to you, help them to experience your love and see God's love in you. Play with your kids, go and watch their games, memorize their friends' names, spend quality time alone with your spouse, surprise him/her with special notes in their lunch box, come home early and have a game night with your family, treat your parents now and again, phone them and be interested in their daily living. I can go on and on, but I think you get the point.

It doesn't cost money to put them first, only time and effort on your behalf. And I can promise you it would be worthwhile. Your house will be strong, and with the right foundation, you will be able to weather any storm.

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for our family and close friends. Thank you for blessing us with them. Help us to treasure them and keep them close to our hearts. Amen.