Illustration results for affirmation
"Longer, Daddy.. .Longer" by John Trent.
Recently, a woman grabbed my arm at a conference after I had finished speaking on the enormous need we all have for affirmation.
"Dr. Trent, may I tell you my story?" she asked. "Actually, it’s a story of something my son did with my granddaughter that illustrates what you’ve been talking about - the importance of affirmation.
"My son has two daughters, one who’s five and one who is in the ’terrible twos’." When a grandmother says this child is in the "terrible twos," believe me, she is!
"For several years, my son has taken the oldest girl out for a ’date’ time, but he had never taken the two-year-old until recently. On his first ’date’ with the younger one, he took her out to breakfast at a local fast food restaurant.
"They had just gotten their pancakes when my son decided it would be a good time to tell this child how much he loved and appreciated her."
"Jenny," her son had said, "I want you to know how much I love you, and how special you are to Mom and me. We prayed for you for years, and now that you’re here and growing up to be such a wonderful girl, we couldn’t be more proud of you."
Once he had said all this, he stopped talking and reached over for his fork to begin eating . . . but he never got the fork to his mouth.
His daughter reached out her little hand and laid it on her father’s hand. His eyes went to hers, and in a soft, pleading voice she said, "Longer, Daddy...longer."
He put down his fork and proceeded to tell her some more reasons and ways they loved and appreciated her, and then he again reached for his fork. A second time...and a third...and a fourth time he heard the words, "Longer, Daddy...longer."
This father never did get much to eat that morning, but his daughter got the emotional nourishment she needed so much. In fact, a few days later, she spontaneously ran up to her mother and said, "I’m a really special daughter, Mommy. Daddy told me so."
Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray, Multnomah Books, c. 1996, p. 153.
In 1864, one of America’s great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote the poem which became the well-known carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
When I first heard this song, I wondered, “Why does he suddenly shift from joy at hearing the Christmas bells into such deep despair?” It starts with:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then he says:
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!”
The question is clearly answered when we see two verses of the original that are not included in our hymn. In these verses Longfellow speaks of the horrors of the American Civil War that was tearing the country apart. In fact, his son had been seriously wounded in that conflict not long before he wrote the song. (The death of Longfellow’s wife two years earlier may have contributed to his mood too.) Listen to what they say:
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Little wonder he is tempted to despair. And yet he concludes with the resounding affirmation, "God is not dead, nor does he sleep!" Through the Savior whose birth the angels celebrated, God will accomplish what he has promised.
My wife and I were trying to show our grandchildren the importance of thanking God for everything that He had blessed us with. We encouraged them to speak to God whenever they needed to know what they should do. Michael, our 4 year old grandson, enjoyed holding our hands, and with head bowed, he would close his eyes and listen as my wife or I led in prayer. One evening as we were preparing to eat the evening meal, I asked that we all join hands and bow our heads as I led in prayer. To my surprise, Michael asked if he could say the prayer. I responed by asking him "Michael, do you know how to ask God to bless our meal?" To which he nodded with enthusiasm that he did. So we all bowed our heads and I gave Michael permission to begin. Instead of hearing words of a prayer, I heard nothing, and was about to ask Michael to begin again, when my ears caught a very faint sound coming from the direction of his bowed head. I listened, I strained, yet I could not make out any intelligible words. Finally, a very hardy "Amen" was uttered from Michael, and he looked up with an expectant expression that looked for an affirmation from his grandparents that he had done a very good job. Before I could say anything, to Michael, my wife instructed him that we would say the prayer again, because she could not hear a single word of anything that he had said. After all, we wanted to teach them how to talk to the Father, and they needed to know how to do so. What happened next drove home the lesson my wife and I had been attempting to teach. Michael’s facial expression changed from one of joy to one of puzzlement, and then he quickly added, "But Granny, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to God!"
Illus.: “I Can’t Change Jesus”
Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ--HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill told me with a smile, "and he made sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered."
I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant--I can’t change Jesus.
When life is unsettled, I gain great comfort from the Bible’s affirmation that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). But the statement is also a stern rebuke to my tendency to try to modify t...
In his book The Youth Builder, Jim Burns talks about the importance of building up young people with affirmation and trust. What he says about criticism applies to every age group: For every critical comment we receive, it takes nine affirming comments to even out the negative effect in our life. Most young people receive more critical comments a day than encouraging ones. You can have a very positive, life transforming effect when you develop a ministry of affirmation.
"Humour is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him."
Bruce Larson, in his book "Wind and Fire," points out some interesting facts about sandhill cranes: "These large birds, who fly great distances across continents, have three remarkable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence. And then, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are following and honking their affirmation.
"The intensive care waiting room is a different world. No one is a stranger. They help one another. They grieve with one another and shed tears of joy together. There is no distinction of race or class. Vanity and pretense vanish. Everything focuses on the next doctor’s report or the next telephone call. Here in this anxious stillness it becomes clear that loving someone else is what life is all about. Why does it take the intensive care waiting room to teach us to forget our irritations and love one another?" (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 71). It is our irritations and the way that we insulate ourselves as we pass by on the o...
When my wife and I first got married, we moved to St. Louis where I started seminary. It was a stressful time the first year. I started learning Greek and Hebrew and learned the fine art of being married. I had enough time in my schedule to clean the house, do the dishes and do the laundry while my wife worked. She’d come home and say thank you but then complain that I wasn’t loving her. I read the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman when I was in my 4th year at the seminary. I asked what things made her feel loved: physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, verbal affirmation or acts of service. She told me that she felt loved when I bought her flowers and told her that I loved her.
I was knocking myself out doing acts of service thinking that she felt loved when I was doing all these tasks but all she wanted me to do was buy her a bouquet of flowers every few weeks and tell her that I love her everyday.
We need to demonstrate love to people in ways that they’ll receive and see as loving. Too often in the church, we tell people that God loves them and forgives them but they don’t get that they’ve done anything wrong. We have to spend the time to get to know people well enough to figure out, discern or have them share with us what their perceived issues are and speak the Gospel to that particular need.
Well noted author and marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman is very famous for his Book the “Five Love Languages”. He wrote the book and developed this system of identifying what makes your mate feel loved, what is it that really makes him or her feel like you love them. The five love languages according to Dr. Chapman are:
1. Words of affirmation. If that is your mates love language then when you compliment them or speak words to affirm them then they feel like you love them.
2. Quality Time. Your mate feels most loved when you spend physical time together, doing activities that they love to do.
3. Receiving Gifts. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of gifts represents a lack of love from their mate.
4. Acts of Service. If this is your love language then when your mate does chores around the house that you would otherwise have to do, then you feel the most loved.
5. Physical Touch. Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner.
Once you learn your mates love language you are taught by Dr. Chapman to do frequent love tank check ups on your mate to see how full or empty their love tank is, if it is empty then you need to work on filling it.
Just like in our physical relationships we have a love tank, we also have a spiritual love tank, when our spiritual love tank is full we will tend to do more spiritual things such as pray, study the bible, attend worship services, give more to the poor or needy. But when our spiritual love tank is low or empty we tend to not be so spiritual.