Saturday, November 23, 2013
Her ten year old brother, who also knew his sister's bike was supposed to be inside, decided to ride it anyway. He was careless and dropped the bike in the next door neighbor's driveway. The neighbor did not see the bike, and drove over it - destroying it. The older sister ran outside and was heartbroken that her bike was ruined. It was her main source of entertainment. Her parents had rules. Good rules. They were not allowed to watch movies, play video games. They had to go outside and get exercise. The bike was very important to this little girl. Her mother came outside, and seeing it ruined, did not even think to scold the brother, but instantly jumped all over the little girl. "Well, if you had taken it inside when you were supposed to, your brother would not have been riding it." But didn't the brother know HE was ALSO breaking the rules? Was it also true that if HE had obeyed, his sister's bike would not be destroyed? There was no comfort to the little girl. No correction to the little boy.
So here is a heartbroken little girl.
A disobedient little girl.
Who does not have a bicycle to ride.
An ALSO a disobedient little boy.
Who DOES have a bicycle to ride.
Do you agree with the mom?
Do you think the brother was blameless?
Who should be disciplined?
God DID NOT CALL US to be MEAN TO OUR CHILDREN and CALL IT DISCIPLINE.
PUNISHMENT is not the same thing as DISCIPLINE.
Discipline teaches something. Something good.
Godly parents are warned:
"Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
These are the kind of situations that give good parent's hives.
What was the Godly thing to do in this situation?
What does YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER DO... when.. after blatantly disobeying HIS RULES... YOU destroy something in your life? Something like... your marriage or your finances or your health? Does He reply to your heartbroken cry by saying,
"WELL, IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT BECAUSE YOU DISOBEYED ME."
NO. He sees a heart that is broken. And it breaks His heart when our disobedience breaks us.
I think parents should insist on obedience.
But I think parents should know when a disobedient child needs compassion and mercy.
When a mistake is SO DEVASTATING to that LITTLE CHILDLIKE HEART.. that the only thing to do is SHOW MERCY.
The little girl's FATHER came home and found a despondent child. The little girl was heartbroken. She cried in her room all night.
Her father's heart was softened toward her. He saw and decided that she was sorry and repentant over her disobedience. He told his wife, "She's learned her lesson."
The next morning he went out and bought her a new bike. He sat her down and explained, "Honey. you don't deserve a new bike. You disobeyed your mother. You asked us to forgive you for disobeying. We do forgive you. I am going to forgive you for that... and I am hoping you will learn something about God. I bought you a new bike to have MERCY on you because I believe you have learned a lesson about obeying. I also believe you are truly sorry for your actions. And even though I forgive you - I also don't want you to have to suffer the consequences of your sin. I want to fix what your disobedience has broken. Your mom and I don't want you to have to sit inside while everyone else gets to play outside. You shouldn't be getting a new bike. But you are getting one. This is mercy. Mercy is God's idea. You are getting a new bike and I hope you understand that mercy started with God."
Wise father. What do you think?
AND BTW...Her little brother?
He was really annoyed at how UNFAIR it all turned out.
"Why does SHE get a new bike and I have to ride my old one?"
Aren't we all a little like that little boy?
We don't really grasp the depth of the MERCY of God.
We don't understand when HE showers blessings on repentant disobeyers.
Showing MERCY is God's idea.
What do you think?
When God tells us we need to have mercy on others... does that include our kids?
"O Lord, I have heard the report of You and was afraid. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make Yourself known! In wrath [earnestly] remember love, pity, and mercy." Habakkuk 3:2
Thank you to all the NEW email followers.
BTW - you can send me emails at:
Thursday, November 14, 2013
TRUTH: God created people and although society changes.. our basic needs do not.
God created families. He did. And if you search the Scriptures... you'll see that God created a system where parents would talk to their children. We make God and His ways so complicated.. but.. really His plan for the family is pretty simple:
PARENTS.. talking to... THEIR CHILDREN. That is God's way of saving the planet... creating peace.. harmony... PARENTS talking TO and WITH THEIR CHILDREN.
So then... IF YOU HATED GOD..and wanted to destroy families... what would you do? You would cause society to become a place where parents and children DO NOT SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME COMMUNICATING. You would create an atmosphere where being distracted, being rushed, being pressured and having access to instant information would be so attractive.. that we would ALL get used to concentrating on something else.. all the time.
We are being deceived.. those of us who go to church.. when we think satan's only tactic to destroy families is "SIN". We are being distracted when we think that keeping them away from drugs and alcohol and sex is our only job.
Because..one of the MOST DIABOLICAL tactics of satan is to create families TOO BUSY to talk.. and too busy to listen. If God's plan is for parents to live a lifestyle of speaking to and with their children... about Him.. about His faithfulness.. about His plans... while you walk, while you sit, while you lay down.....it makes sense that if satan can keep us too busy or distracted to share with one another.. talk to one another.. share our hearts with one another.. he has thwarted.. in the most seemingly innocent way.. GOD'S PLAN FOR A HEALTHY FAMILY.
BUSY.. and.. DISTRACTED PARENTS... is one of his main schemes. Focusing on anything but the souls of our children is focusing in the wrong place.
And when He comes and sends salvation to earth... one of God's main goals is to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17)
A SOCIETY FILLED WITH FATHERS WHO HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM THEIR CHILDREN... AND CHILDREN WHO HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM THEIR FATHERS... CAN NEVER THRIVE. You can protest all you want about the sins of society, but if Christian families don't have time - don't insure they have the time - to talk to their children ABOUT THE WONDER AND LOVE OF OUR FAITHFUL GOD... it doesn't matter how we change society. And parents need to talk to children about God.. so that parents can understand how their children feel ABOUT God.
While we Christians are busy protesting this, and complaining about that... satan is having a field day with families who don't realize how their too busy lives is his very successful tactic to steal their kids.
So now, pay attention to an older woman here because this is GOLDEN advice. GOLD. Yes... it is.
- Dad. Mom. Please put your iPhones down and listen to that story your child is trying to tell you. The world will not cease to exist if you do not answer a phone call the moment it comes in. Calling someone back in fifteen minutes is not IMPOSSIBLE. IS IT? NO.
- Check your email later. What? Check. Your. Email. Later. You will survive.
- Eliminate whatever you can so that you can have time to BE there with your kids. This could mean giving up a golf game, or a volunteer slot at church, or too many sports teams and practices, or TV, or youtube, or ..........
- Instruct your children to do the same thing. No texting while talking to mom and dad. Your children might need to be reminded that humanity as we know it survived for thousands of years without anyone texting anyone else. It IS possible.
- Turn the phone off when your family is eating dinner. And BTW... a dinner eaten together at a fast food restaurant is better any day than not eating together at all.
- Do not expect your kids to understand that EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY AFTERNOON.. and EVERY SINGLE SATURDAY... the most important thing to you is a bunch of people you don't know and will never meet on a FOOTBALL FIELD. Why should they have to understand that? Why? Every Sunday? Every year? All the time? This also applies to hunting, fishing, auto racing, bowling, baselball, basketball, golf.. etc. It's true that every one - including parents - need some leisure. This is GREAT. But when watching or doing these things becomes a religion.. it's too important. Your kid is just a kid and may not understand why it's more important for dad to watch "Johnny Quarterback" every Sunday.. and why he has to understand why Johnny Quarterback is ALWAYS more important.. and honestly.. why IS Johnny Quarterback whom you will never know or meet.. more important than the kid who needs some attention from his dad on his only day off?
- Go outside and play with your kids. Yes. TURN THE T.V. off and go THROW a football for heaven's sake.
- Stay inside.. turn the TV OFF.. and play a game with your kids.
- OR... here's a great idea... sit in the living room and let the kids talk about whatever they want to talk about and you listen to whatever they want to talk about. Really. Try it.
- Take the time to tell your story to your children. Tell them what you did growing up, what you liked, what you didn't like. Tell them funny stories about times you messed up.
- Talk to them about God. I didn't say preach at them. I said talk to them about God. Let them ask questions. If you don't have answers, admit it and search the Scriptures together.
- Ask yourself some questions. Like, "Do we REALLY have to belong to ninety six thousand sports teams?" "Do we REALLY have to do so many things at church?" "Will God strike us dead if we stay home from church now and then?" "Do my kids REALLY need to spend nine hours a week learning karate?" "Should my kids miss Youth Group because I am working overtime to pay for our new car and cannot get home in time to drive to church?" "What will happen if we have a NO-TV-TONIGHT night once a month? Once a Week?"
Your children are a gift from God.
Do your kid a favor.
TURN YOUR HEART TOWARD YOUR CHILDREN... and they will turn their hearts toward you...
And more importanty.. to their Father who is In Heaven.
Just because the solution is simple doesn't mean it isn't a solution.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
For the young mommy, things were not easy, but she loved that little girl. This little girl was the CENTER of HER WORLD. They did everything together. When the little girl started school, her mother's world was shaken. Her father came looking for her. Her father wanted to be involved in her life. Her father wanted his child to know him. Her father wanted to be her father. In every way. He wanted to know her. He wanted her to know him. Reasonable expectation.
But...the mother was resistant. This was an intrusion. For weeks, she ignored his calls and letters. "I'm the only one she needs", is what mommy said. That changed the day the little girl came home from school and said, "Mom, why don't I have a daddy? Where's my daddy?"
Evidently, mommy was wrong. She was NOT the only one her daughter needed. A few court appearances later and daddy was in her life. He made up, financially, for all the years he had been absent. Over the years, her mom and dad (and dad's wife) all worked together to give the child a life that was transparent about her true identity. Through the years, it wasn't easy for Mom to wave goodbye every other weekend but she knew she did the right thing for her daughter. And on the day the little girl left for college, her mom and her dad and his wife all waved goodbye to a teenager who grew up . knowing her true identity. Finding who she was intended to be.
You may think it's because the mommy "did the right thing."
TRUTH IS....she had no choice. She did what she was forced, by law, to do. She had no right to keep a searching father away from his child. Her daughter did not belong JUST to her. Her daughter had a daddy. And the daughter.. wanted to know him.
Nice story. So what?
Your children have a Heavenly Father who is searching for them. He wants them to know their TRUE identity... He wants them to know the heritage they could have as His children. He wants them to know the PLANS HE HAS FOR THEM. He wants to know that they know Him. And your child... will want to seek Him out. Will want to know Him. Sounds reasonable.
- You have no right to keep Him away from His child.
- You have no right to make believe He isn't real.
- You cannot act like He doesn't exist.
Because He does exist. And He has a right to your child. And your child's future..
And BY HIS LAW... which is THE LAW ABOVE ALL LAWS - a parent's most important job is to be sure.. BE SURE....they find the Heavenly Father who is searching for them.
There is no higher call. There is no higher goal.
You may think that going to church on Sunday mornings is the end of your obligation to this OTHER Father... but... how can I say this? What are the words? uHHHHhhhhhh...
You are wrong.
Unlike an earthly father....God is not going to accept an every-other-weekend joint custody with you.... when it comes to HIS OWNERSHIP of YOUR KIDS. He alone is God. He alone is Their Creator. He. Alone. Step back. Acknowledge His ownership of YOUR children.
He says to your child, "I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU."
HIS PLAN for YOUR KID'S LIFE TRUMPS YOUR PLANS FOR YOUR KIDS LIFE.
HIS PLAN - for YOUR KID'S LIFE - TRUMPS YOUR PLANS FOR YOUR KIDS LIFE.
I would venture to say that the reason so many children..
of our wonderful children are despondent and depressed and disillusioned stems from the root ----
that parents are NOT leading their children to FIND and SEEK and KNOW ONE THING... and ONE THING ONLY -
God's plan for their lives.
- You may want a football scholarship ... but God may want a missionary
- You may want a doctor... but God may want a pastor.
- You may want a corporate vice president.. but God may want a non-profit worker.
GOD knew THEN what HIS PLANS WERE GOING TO BE.
Have you done YOUR BEST to have your child FOCUS on GOD'S WILL?
Whatever it may be.
Do you encourage God's will.. no matter what?
Do you feel like that single mom who thought she was all her kid needed?
What is YOUR REAL measure of success when it comes to your children?
Do you HONESTLY want God to USE THEM for HIS GLORY - even if they don't "look" successful by the standards of society?
Savings accounts, college degrees, doctorates and diplomas may bring your children treasures here.... true... but they are temporary treasures... they will fade away. What your child needs is NEW LIFE. A plan to ESCAPE eternal DEATH. Does that even matter to you?
It matters to God.
IN ORDER TO KNOW THE PLAN - YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE GOD WHO HAS IT.
You need to know God.
Your kid needs to know God.
Your main goal - as a parent - according to the ONE who made you and your kids.. is to get them to Focus on Their Father Which Art In Heaven.
And if HE isn't YOUR main goal... He won't be your kids main goal either.
And sometimes... God's plans... God's way of living... goes against the grain of the way society is behaving. I wonder about parents who - afraid to lose their kids here by standing true to God and His Word - are willing to lose them forever. A kid without God is a kid without a future. Here. Or There.
OOoops.....What to do? What to do?
The only thing worse than making a mistake yesterday is thinking you cannot fix it today.
So today... Tell them who their Father is. If they are 7 years old or 17 or 27.
Call them. Sit them down. Readjust your focus.
Today... say something like... "Knowing God... is the most important thing you can ever know. And I want to say that I didn't always make GOD - and knowing Him - the main focus of our family's life. I didn't always make Jesus be the Champion you should have tried to emulate. The Example you should follow. I didn't always make seeking God's will for your life the most important quest in life. I was wrong. Please forgive me. Let's change our focus. As a family."
...or...whatever words come from your heart.
Repentance simply means turning and going in the opposite direction.
Are you still a good parent if you haven't taught your children that eternity is more important than anything that happens here? Hmmmmmmm... What do you think?
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18
Thanks for all the emails...
So many signing up to receive this via email. (Upper right corner of the page)
If you sign up, be sure to follow through when you receive the confirmation email.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I'm stating the obvious when I say.."Kids affect a marriage." The Bible tells us that "Children are a blessing from the Lord; they are a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3) Every parent, at one time or another, has wanted to return the gift. At least for a few hours... or a day or two. It isn't easy to be a parent. Nobody ever said it would be. Society changes - BUT - God does not. Society does not tolerate a strict moral code anymore. And while it's true that there are parents who abuse their authority over children... that doesn't mean that parents don't have God given authority over their children. God.. expects.... children... to... OBEY THEIR PARENTS. And God wants parents who understand that God expects them to expect their children to OBEY.
This is where I see the breakdown in family life. It's disobedient Christian parents. It's parents who don't obey God by requiring their children to obey them. Parents who tell Johnny, "Take your school books off the kitchen table and bring them to your room" and then do NOTHING when Johnny ignores them and keeps playing his video game. Parents who don't want Susie to go to the mall with her friends but relent because Susie makes such a huge fuss when they say "No." It's easier to let kids ignore the rules. But it isn't BETTER.
God is expecting parents to expect their children's obedience. God is expecting obedient parents... who insist on obedient kids. It takes a real commitment to God to be committed to this. Who has the energy to consistently require obedience?
You do. Because God says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Are you being an obedient parent?
Do you talk with your children about God and His ways? That's one of the foundational instructions God gives to parents - "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) The Old Testament idea that GOD should be the CENTER of the family - loving Him, discussing Him, understanding HIS standards.... has not been cancelled by Calvary. No, rather now, we have the power of the HOLY SPIRIT TO love God more, follow Him with joy.
Are you obeying God by being diligent to speak to your children about Him?
I have found one thing to be evident as I have dealt with families over these many decades: You can tell a couple almost anything except that their children need discipline.
Do your kids a favor. OBEY. I find too many Christian parents who have abdicated their God given responsibility to the Children's program.. or the Youth Ministry at church.
When the day comes that you have to give an account for the way you raised your kids.. you are not going to get away with telling God that the Youth Ministry at church wasn't good.. or that the Children's Pastor was inadequate. God has required that PARENTS teach their kids about HIM... and IF.. you are blessed to have a church that reinforces what YOU are teaching.. then you are doubly blessed.
And IF you realize that you aren't being an obedient parent... remember that with YOUR Heavenly Father there is MERCY... the moment you ask for it. Don't despair... say a prayer. and God will come to your aid. The only thing worse than making a mistake yesterday is thinking that you cannot fix it today.
Let me know what you think.
(sign up to receive these via email... upper right corner of this page.)