Topic | Relationships

Posts Categorized: Relationships

Beware of False Friends

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There is an old missionary adage that goes something like, “Pay close attention to the first person who enthusiastically greets you when you get off the boat. That will be the first person who will try to kill you.” This saying resonates with us because we have all known folks who have received us warmly but then turn against us without warning or provocation. Of course this does not mean that we should view every warm enthusiastic person with the same level of suspicion or cynicism. Many people are genuinely friendly, receive us quickly and are without guile. But that. . .
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God Talks to Us

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I think of it as awesome that God talks to us. Of all the persons on the planet that you would like to meet and get to know, wouldn’t the Creator of the universe be your first choice? Because God speaks to man, we can know why we are here, what life is all about, what is after all of this because we do see leaves change and fall to the ground. If somehow God were seated next to us on a flight, what might we ask Him that He hasn’t already revealed? By that I mean that He has. . .
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Dredging Up the Sand

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Withstanding the Tide The sea is always trying to take back the beach, the daily tides are complicit in this reclamation project. It’s not work for the impatient wave, but for those with a bit of resolve, the rewards are inevitable. The beach ultimately returns from whence it came. Some of our seaside friends know that they have only a few years before the ocean reclaims both the sand and perhaps even their vacation homes. We fight against it as best we can and dredge up sand from the water and haul it back and give ourselves a few more. . .
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When Trauma Hits Close to Home

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Wrapped in a white cloth with only his blood-covered face visible, my older brother Rich lay unconscious in the hospital bed. Wires and tubes protruded from under the cloth, making it almost impossible to identify him. “Is this Rich?” asked the neurosurgeon, standing in the doorway behind us. “That’s him, alright,” said my Dad. Looking down at my eighteen-year-old brother, I wondered how my Dad could be so sure. The blood and gashes marring his face made him look like someone else. “OK,” said the doctor, “we’re going to take him into surgery now that you’ve identified him. We’ll show. . .
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Why Community Fails

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Community Pool People have funny ideas about what “community” is. Some think that it’s formed by a list of rules like the sign you first see at a pool that states clearly: No Running, No Diving, No Alcohol. Just keep the rules and you can stay. Break the rules and you just might lose your pool privileges. Others think of community as being in the pool together; this is what they have in common. They are all in the water and they are all wet. Some pools have memberships and the members have the entrance codes to the gate and. . .
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Why Christians Hate Each Other

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Firing Shots at Fellow Christians I remember this time when this friend of mine had a disagreement that turned into a fierce argument. We both shot at each other with bursts of sarcasm attempting to win what had moved from discussion into a contest. Problem was, this sad and disturbing display was semi-public, it was at the place where we worked and all around us were people who we had been witnessing to for some time. One of them addressed us in shock, “The two of you are fighting?!” That gave both of us pause, we stopped the verbal and. . .
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Know Who Your Friends & Your Enemies Are {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Waging War Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?—James 4:1 Life together is difficult. I doubt many people will argue with that. We mount wars against each other when we should be blessed peacemakers. If we stop for a moment we can probably all think of an example of this in our own experience. The odd thing is that we keep looking for a serene existence all the while being led by our own desires to trample the perfect commands of God and grind. . .
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Skinflint Stewardship

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Controlling Grip Maybe you’ve seen something like this: someone holds out a twenty dollar bill, but when the other person starts to pull it away, the first person holds on to it with a death grip. They only let go after an imposing glare or a final meaningful remark. The point of such an act is about control. Even when the money finally leaves their hand, the hovering presence of the giver still follows the money around, breathing down the neck of the receiver. This cash comes with strings attached. Scripture tells us plainly that the borrower is the slave. . .
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Staying Put: Sticking it Out When the Going Gets Tough

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The average American moves every five years. That’s a number that has stayed fairly stable for awhile. It includes everyone from the elderly who are not as prone to moving to the 18–24 year olds who are moving every year for college or first jobs or exploring. My experience in witnessing families around me is that this is fairly accurate. Whole families, all the pets and kids and stuff, out of here and on to there. New job, new church, new friends. Wipe your feet and move on down the road. The moves are financial, personal, going to something, going. . .
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What do I say to someone who is dying?

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Over the years, people have come to me about how best to approach someone with the gospel who is dying, be it a friend or neighbor or family member. This is usually a situation where the ailing person has kept their distance in the relationship and/or has been antagonistic when it comes to “talking about religion.” Sometimes it all comes down to the Christian being shy or feeling inadequate to present or argue about their faith in Christ which they desire to share. Time is now running out and so they ask me, “What can I do?” The Heidelberg Maneuver. . .
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Lessons in Love: It’s Hard

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I am writing this on the day before Valentine’s Day. As do many of you, the holiday makes us think of those we love, have loved, or wish we could love (I’m trying to cover as many of the bases as possible here). However, I was thinking along different lines the other day. I was thinking about how we learn about and express our love for others. Learning to Love There are some people for whom loving others comes very easy. We all know people like this. They have open and overflowing hearts that express love freely and joyfully to. . .
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Being Gracious on Non-Essential Issues

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How can we maintain a gracious attitude toward those we have disagreements with about non-essential issues: breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, home birth vs. hospital birth, vaccinate vs. not-vaccinate,  homeschool or Christian school, organic vs. not-organic. Families have strong opinions about these and other topics. How can we keep these things from becoming divisive? How do we keep from creating laws for each other where God allows freedom?

The Merits of Saying Nothing

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A ten year old boy with a new pocketknife takes it out of his pocket many times throughout the day for no specific reason. He isn’t necessarily planning mischief, but after admiring it and waving it about for the fifteenth time, something ends up getting cut. You are that ten year old boy. Your tongue is that pocketknife. You don’t plan to say something hurtful or thoughtless or dumb, but as the words come tumbling out, some of them get away from you. The worst part is that in many cases there was no reason for you to open your. . .
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The Impossibility of Lonely Christmases

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Lonely Carols There is no better way to respond to Christ’s birth than with singing and over the centuries the Church has amassed a wealth of carols and hymns that is the envy of the world. This has led to all sorts of crooners and warblers without a religious bone in their body recording Christmas albums, interspersing sentimental seasonal fluff alongside forthright carols of Christian joy, topped off with an original or two to try to make their collection distinct. Sometimes this results in a beautiful voice singing beautiful truth, in a plundering-the-Egyptians, blind-squirrel-finding-a-nut sort of way. Other times, we’re. . .
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Parenting Older Children

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How can you help your children move through different stages of life? Do you need to think about a longterm plan when your kids are still young? How do you know when your kids are ready to be released from being parented like a child? What should your relationship with your kids be like after they leave the home and get married?

Contention: Poison in the Field of Righteousness

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Growing Righteousness Where does righteousness grow? This is an important question for everyone who wants to reap a harvest of righteousness like James 3:18 talks about. But a harvest is an outcome and not every field contains the right kind of soil to produce that outcome. Many Christians sow seeds of righteousness only to find that the expected harvest never comes. James addresses this frustrating state of affairs by reminding us that soil matters just as much as seed, that righteous convictions must be combined with peaceful wisdom in order to produce fruit. Christians who share the same high opinion. . .
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Basement Tape #174: Speaking into Each Other’s Lives

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Audio: Speaking into Each Other's Lives (Basement Tapes 174)

“But exhort one another daily,”

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers,”

“Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”

Join us as we have a conversation about the biblical imperative to speak into each other’s lives.

15 Things to Remember When You’re Shattered

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My congregation, Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, had a split ten years ago. It was a sad and ugly affair that hurt deeply and estranged friends from one another. Suspicion, doubt, and anger, permeated our days while sleep evaded our nights. Food had little taste and music did little to comfort. As the Psalmist well said, “weeping endured the night.” We were in a season of great distress and sadness and even when I, as an individual, might succeed in “encouraging yourself in the Lord” I still suffered for others who struggled on wondering just what had happened. Not only did. . .
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Hospitality Tips

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Hospitality Tips (wecome mat with slippers)

How can you make your home into a place where people, even your own children, want to be? How do you keep people prioritized over stuff? Are there biblical ideas that can be applied to how we practice hospitality? Steve and Kara share some things they have learned that help them to be a blessing to the people who come into their home.

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