Category Archives: Sensitivity

Choose Your Words Carefully

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

I recently came across an article written by a 76 year-old man. He wrote:

“Late at night, my father waited alone for the train that took him to a factory where he worked the night shift. On this particular night, I waited with him in the dark to say good-bye. His face was grim; his youngest son had been drafted. I would be sworn in at six the next morning while he was at the factory. My father didn’t want them to take his child, only 19 years old, to fight a war in Europe. He placed his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You be careful, and if you need anything, write to me and I’ll see that you get it.’ Suddenly he heard the roar of the approaching train. He held me tightly in his arms and gently kissed me on the cheek. With tear-filled eyes, he murmured, ‘I love you, my son.’ Then the train arrived, the doors closed him inside, and he disappeared into the night…and I left for boot camp. One month later, at age 46, my father died. I am 76 as I sit and write this. I once heard someone say that memories are man’s greatest inheritance, and I have to agree. I’ve lived through four invasions in World War II. I’ve had a life full of all kinds of experiences. But the only memory that lingers is the night my dad said, ‘I love you, my son.’”

Isn’t that incredible? You’re never too old to tell your children that you love them. And you need to!

How we need to bless and encourage and praise those around us. If all our children are hearing from us is negative and criticism then we are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion in the lives of our sons and daughters. James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Someone has suggested that it takes ten praises or affirmations just to counteract the damage caused by one negative, critical remark.
Words are so powerful. We have the opportunity to encourage, to bless and to affirm. Choose your words carefully. Make each one count. Purpose to speak words of life and encouragement to those that the Lord brings across your path today!

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Beware of Offending a “Little One”

“It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).

Anna Rose loved children! She had a foster home, and would take in the children nobody else wanted. She tells in her book, Gentle House, about one little misplaced boy from Latvia, who, during the Second World War, was taken to America, and passed from one foster home to another. Nobody could deal with him. The fact that he could hardly speak a word of English made the situation even more difficult. Finally they asked Anna Rose if she would take him. She said, “Yes!” She relates the story in her book:

”And so it was settled and [he] was allowed to come with me. As we drove home in the May sunshine, I said to him, ‘You know, my house isn’t big and grand like the one you were staying in before.’ To this he replied, ‘No worry. Big house, no matter. I want a gentle house.’ I wondered exactly what he meant by a ‘gentle house,’ but he did not yet have the words to make me understand.”

Later, when he was going off with the scouts to camp for the first time, she watched him…”and as he stepped out on the porch, he paused, put out his hand and stroked the porch railing. Then he spoke – almost in blank verse: ‘Good-bye, house – my dear, dear house. You are my home. Try to be here when I get back. You are a gentle house.’ ‘What is a gentle house?’ I asked him. He was indignant: ‘How is this, you do not understand? A gentle house is a place where you feel so safe.’

One of your children’s greatest fears is that their mom and dad will divorce. Since one out of every two marriages is ending in the divorce courts, chances are that some of your children’s friends at school come from split homes. They’ve watched them try to deal with the emotional struggle that affects all children in a divorce situation. They’ve seen the hurt and the sense of rejection, and they secretly wonder when the same thing might happen to them.

As much as divorced parents try to avoid offending and damaging their children, it is unavoidable. And the hurts and scars will often be carried by them for the rest of their lives.

Not only do we need to provide our children with the security of our love and acceptance of them; children also need the security of knowing that mom and dad love each other and that there is no hint or possibility of divorce.

Today would be a good time to reaffirm your marriage commitment to your spouse. Then, assure your children of your commitment as a couple and give them the security of knowing that divorce will never be a consideration for your marriage.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Spiritual Warfare and How to Pray for Your Husband

The following list is designed to pray one request per day, thus enabling you to pray through it each month. Pray…

1. That he would totally submit himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

2. That he would love the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and strength.

3. That he would be a man of wisdom, viewing himself, me as his wife, our children, others, and circumstances the way God does.

4. That he would grow in brokenness of spirit and humility, longing for God to reveal areas of needed growth.

5. That his heart would hunger and thirst for a closer, intimate relationship with God.

6. That he would understand that though he is a husband and father, he is a man under authority, respecting his authorities, as he desires his family to honour him.

7. That he would give first priority to spending time with the Lord every day in Bible reading, mediation, and prayer, and that it would be a source of encouragement and strength to him.

8. That he would realise his position of victory and power in Jesus Christ, casting down imaginations, and bringing every thought into captivity.

9. That he would experience God’s perfect sacrificial love for him and because of that knowledge, love and cherish me, his wife, so that our marriage would clearly typify Christ’s love for the Church.

10. That he would be committed to and experience moral freedom, making a covenant to not look upon strange women to lust after them, and setting nothing immoral before his eyes.

11. That he would fully accept the way God has made him and me, understanding our differences as male and female, and enabling us to reach out to each other unselfishly.

12. That he would continue to grow in the skill of intimate, honest communication, reaching out to me in sensitive understanding, allowing a greater oneness of spirit between us.

13. That he would be committed to making his marriage a priority, delighting in me as a woman, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

14. That he would be filled with wisdom to be the loving, wise, sensitive spiritual leader of our home.

15. That he would (continue to) make it a priority to lead our family in a regular devotional time.

16. That he would be a wise protector, shielding his family from the onslaughts of Satan and the world.

17. That he would value and understand each of our children’s needs and strengths, being and doing all he can for their spiritual and emotional growth.

18. That he would know how to express his love and acceptance to each of our children, alert for opportunities to praise and affirm them, and be enabled to meaningfully communicate with them.

19. That he would make it a priority to spend quantity and quality time with our children.

20. That he would be a loving, consistent disciplinarian of our children, not provoking them to anger.

21. That he would grow in meekness, not given to anger, but when failing be given the grace to humbly ask to be forgiven.

22. That he would trust the Lord for the spacing and number of children in our family.

23. That he would make wise financial decisions, being committed to tithing our income, and remembering that God is the ultimate Provider for our family.

24. That God would protect and guard him from spiritual, emotional, and physical danger.

25. That he would be blessed with good health and strength.

26. That he would have a life purpose bigger than his occupation, keeping the vision of service and missions before his eyes.

27. That he would use his job to encourage and share his faith in a dynamic way with others.

28. That he would not compare himself with others, being concerned of God’s evaluation of him.

29. That he would view the irritations of family life, occupation, and all of life’s trials as God’s best tools to build and refine his character, and be given the grace to delight in the Lord when the stresses of life increases.

30. That he would experience purpose in life and enjoy God’s smile of approval as he lays down his life for his family and others.

Be Sensitive to The Touchpoints of Love for Each Family Member

People express and receive love in different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies these as the five languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

If you express love in a way another family member doesn’t understand, he or she won’t realize you’ve expressed your love at all. The problem is that you’re speaking two different languages.

Perhaps your husband needs to hear encouraging words, but you feel cooking a nice dinner will cheer him up. When he still feels down, you’re puzzled. Or, maybe your wife craves time with you; and the flowers you gave her just don’t communicate that you care.

Do you know each family member’s love language? Here is an exercise that your whole family can try. Within each group, rate the sentence 1 to 5 according to what would make you feel most appreciated and loved. The number 5 represents what you most appreciate; number 1, in contrast, is what you least appreciate in each group. (No individual grouping can have a number repeated twice.)

 

Group One

A___ Mom or Dad says, “You really did a great job on that. I appreciate it.”

B___ Mom or Dad unexpectedly does something in or around the house or your room that you appreciate.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a surprise treat from the store.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to go on a walk just for fun and to talk.

E___ Mom or Dad makes a point to give you a big hug and kiss you before you leave the house.

 

Group Two

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much he or she appreciates you.

B___ Mom or Dad volunteers to type your homework for you so you won’t have to.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a special food treat from the local bakery.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to sit down and talk about your day.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a hug even when you are just passing by room to room.

 

Group Three

A___ Mom or Dad during a party shares about the great grades you got in school.

B___ Mom or Dad helps pick up your room.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a present you didn’t know you were getting.

D___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a special afternoon trip.

E___ Mom or Dad holds your hand as you walk through the mall or stands by your side with an arm around your shoulder at a public event.

 

Group Four

A___ Mom or Dad praises you about one of your special abilities.

B___ Mom or Dad brings you breakfast in bed.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a book you always wanted.

D___ Mom or Dad plans a special night out for the two of you.

E___ Mom or Dad will personally drive you to an event instead of you having to go on the old, crowded bus with the team.

 

Group Five

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much his or her friends appreciate you.

B___ Mom or Dad takes the time to fill out the long forms for school that you thought you were going to have to fill out yourself.

C___ Mom or Dad sends you something special through the mail.

D___ Mom or Dad kidnaps you for lunch and takes you to your favorite restaurant.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a back rub.

 

(Transfer your scores from your test questions to the scoring profile below.)

Encouraging

Words

Acts of

Service

Gift-Giving

Quality Time

Touch

Group 1

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 2

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 3

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 4

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 5

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Totals

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

 

Compare your score with your spouse/child/parent. Write down from the primary to the least of the love languages of each family member.

1.______________________

2.______________________

3.______________________

4.______________________

5.______________________

Designed by Gary and Joy Hanson – Copyright © 1999 by Growing Families International. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

 

Being Sensitive to God’s Will

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17)

Just about every Christian has asked the question, “What is the will of God for my life?” Whenever a Christian says that, he implies two things:

1. He doesn’t know what God’s will is but he would like to.

2. He would like to know God’s will, but because he doesn’t know it’s God’s fault.

I’d like to suggest on the basis of Ephesians 5:17 that if anyone doesn’t know God’s will, it’s not God’s fault, it’s ours! God’s will is not some nebulas, indiscernible information stored away in some filing cabinet locked up in heaven. God has clearly revealed His will to us in the Word of God and it’s the same for every Christian. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…” Now that’s not something we have to pray about. God’s will is our sanctification! Simply put, sanctification is the process by which we become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ and less and less like ourselves.

Many Christians who struggle with finding God’s will for their lives are usually concerned about one of two things – where God wants them to go or what He wants them to do. But God’s will is not primarily a matter of location or vocation. It is primarily a matter of the condition of our hearts. God is not so much concerned about where we go or what we do as He is about what we are.

Now If God’s will is our sanctification and if we want to live in the will of God then, first of all, we will reject all those things which do not contribute to our sanctification. Are there things in your life that are hindering your sanctification? God has clearly told us that His will for each one of us is to become more like Christ in His character. Every day we have choices which will determine whether we are that way or not. And one of the choices we have is to consciously reject all those things which do not contribute to our sanctification.

But there’s a positive aspect as well. It’s not only rejecting those things which hinder our sanctification; but it’s embracing those things which contribute to our sanctification. Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:17,  “Sanctify them with Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.” God’s will is that we be sanctified, and Jesus is telling us how that happens – by a constant exposure to the Word of God. A Christian that is in the will of God is a Christian that is in the Word of God. God has given us His Word as His means of making us more like His Son.

Are you in God’s will? Are you sensitive to those things in your life which hinder your sanctification and need to go? Are you spending time each day in the Word of God? Because a Christian that is in the will of God is a Christian that is in the Word of God.

Four Probing Questions Related to Sensitivity

  • Can you discern the true feelings of your family or friends without asking them?
  • Are you aware of the spiritual condition of those for whom you are responsible?
  • Do you experience times when your mind tells you something is right, but your spirit tells you something is wrong?
  • Have you ever given a gift which you later learned met a precise need?

Character Clues Game

How to Demonstrate Sensitivity

at Home

  • Realising that a family member’s irritating behaviour may be a sign of an unmet need for love.
  • Notice when a family member needs a word of praise instead of another problem to fix.
  • A parent being alert to attitudes of hurt, guilt, and disloyalty in the children.
  • Parents realising that the seeds of a wounded spirit in a child can grow up into a crop of rebellion.
  • Being aware that rude words deeply hurt one another.
  • Understanding that a successful marriage and family is more important than a successful career.
  • Remembering special days and anniversaries in your family.
  • Avoiding words and actions that could hurt or offend another family member.

at Work/School

  • Offering to help a struggling classmate.
  • If you are an employer, by not demanding that your employees spend an excessive amount of time at work allowing them the freedom to be with their families.
  • Encouraging your employer/teacher by writing a note telling them of ways in which they have benefited your life.
  • Understand the pressures your boss may be experiencing and offer to help serve in any way you can.

at Church

  • Recognising the need to allow the pastor to enjoy his “day-off” with his family.
  • Calling the pastor during office hours if possible so as not to take-away from time with his family.
  • Being aware of people’s limitations and gifts and not asking them to fulfil responsibilities for which they are unprepared.
  • Teaching children to sit quietly in church services to avoid being a distraction.
  • Listening attentively to the sermon and Sunday School lesson.
  • Inviting individuals and families that seem to be on the fringe to your home for a meal.
  • Sending a special card to someone you know is hurting and letting them know that you’re praying for them.

Character Definitions of Sensitivity

  • Exercising my senses so that I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me. Being alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Avoiding danger by sensing wrong motives in others. Knowing how to give the right words at the right time. (Character Clues Game)
  • Using my senses to perceive the true attitudes and emotions of others. (Character First!)
  • Response to stimulation of the senses; heightened awareness of oneself and others within the context of personal and social relationships. (Chambers Dictionary)

Bible Stories Related to Sensitivity

  • Jesus Who was sensitive to the great needs of the multitudes (Matthew 6:39; 14:14; 15:32)
  • The Good Samaritan who was sensitive to the needs of an “enemy” (Luke 10:30-37)
  • Joseph was sensitive to the condition of the butler and the baker in Genesis chapter 40
  • The little servant girl who served Naaman’s wife (2 Kings 5)

Bible Verses Related to Sensitivity

Spend an evening (or several) looking at just one of these verses at a time. Discuss with your family what each verse or story teaches about the character quality; and give vital application of how this quality can be applied to your family. Choose several verses to memorise together as a family during the month. Since the English word “sensitivity” does not appear in the Authorised Version, we have included a list of verses which relate to this important character quality.

1252 diakrinw diakrino dee-ak-ree’-no

from 1223 and 2919; TDNT-3:946,469; v

AV-doubt 5, judge 3, discern 2, contend 2, waver 2, misc 5; 19

1) to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer

2) to learn by discrimination, to try, decide

2a) to determine, give judgement, decide a dispute

3) to withdraw from one, desert

4) to separate one’s self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend

5) to be at variance with one’s self, hesitate, doubt

  • Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern <1252> the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
  • Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt <1252> not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
  • Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall <1252> not doubt <1252> in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
  • Acts 10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting <1252> nothing: for I have sent them.
  • Acts 11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended <1252> with him,
  • Acts 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting <1252>. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:
  • Acts 15:9 And put <1252> no difference <1252> between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
  • Romans 4:20 He staggered <1252> not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
  • Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth <1252> is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. {doubteth: or, discerneth and putteth a difference between meats} {damned: or, condemned, or liable to punishment}
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh <1252> thee to differ <1252> from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? {maketh…: Gr. distinguisheth thee}
  • 1 Corinthians 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge <1252> between his brethren?
  • 1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning <1252> the Lord’s body. {damnation: or, judgement}
  • 1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge <1252> ourselves, we should not be judged.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let <1252> the other judge <1252>.
  • James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering <1252>. For he that wavereth <1252> is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
  • James 2:4 Are ye <1252> not then partial <1252> in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
  • Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending <1252> with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
  • Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference <1252>:

1253 diakrisiv diakrisis dee-ak’-ree-sis

from 1252; TDNT-3:949,469; n f

AV-discerning 1, discern 1, disputation 1; 3

1) a distinguishing, discerning, judging

  • Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations <1253>. {not…: or, not to judge his doubtful thoughts}
  • 1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning <1253> of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
  • Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern <1253> both good and evil. {of full age: or, perfect} {use: or, an habit, or, perfection}

1381 dokimazw dokimazo dok-im-ad’-zo

from 1384; TDNT-2:255,181; v

AV-prove 10, try 4, approve 3, discern 2, allow 2, like 1, examine 1; 23

1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals

2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

  • Luke 12:56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern <1381> the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern <1381> this time?
  • Luke 14:19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove <1381> them: I pray thee have me excused.
  • Romans 1:28 And even as they did <1381> not like <1381> to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; {to retain: or, to acknowledge} {a reprobate…: or, a mind void of judgement or, an unapproving mind}
  • Romans 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest <1381> the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; {approvest…: or, triest the things that differ}
  • Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove <1381> what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth <1381>.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try <1381> every man’s work of what sort it is. {it shall be: Gr. it is}
  • 1 Corinthians 11:28 But let <1381> a man examine <1381> himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve <1381> by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. {liberality: Gr. gift}
  • 2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove <1381> the sincerity of your love.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have <1381> oftentimes proved <1381> diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. {I have: or, he hath}
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove <1381> your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
  • Galatians 6:4 But let <1381> every man prove <1381> his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
  • Ephesians 5:10 Proving <1381> what is acceptable unto the Lord.
  • Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve <1381> things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; {approve: or, try} {are…: or, differ}
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed <1381> of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth <1381> our hearts.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove <1381> all things; hold fast that which is good.
  • 1 Timothy 3:10 And let <1381> these also first be proved <1381>; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
  • Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved <1381> me, and saw my works forty years.
  • 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried <1381> with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
  • 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try <1381> the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Other Verses…

  • Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
  • Romans 14:21 [It is] good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor [any thing] whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
  • 1 Corinthians 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
  • 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: {love as: or, loving to the}
  • 1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?