May 9, 2016
"Give a Shout Out"
You know, this day and time, we seem to give a "shout-out" for just about anything...sports events, politics, favoritism among people, favorite products we use...the list could go on and on. I have been wondering lately if we ever think to give a "shout-out" for family...for our children. It's easy to let such special people in our lives just take a back seat and not recognize the need to celebrate their lives. There are so many ways to celebrate your children and really ask the Lord to bless these precious ones in our lives. How bold are you when it comes to this?
As you talk to your children, help them to realize the importance of recognizing success, especially with one another in the home. Be careful not to ignore the goodness and blessings of the Lord and how He has worked. Help your child, also, learn to celebrate successes with others. It is a wonderful character trait to develop, as well as, teaching the love of the Lord and how to display His goodness.
How can we celebrate life within our homes?
1) Celebrate the small things. As you teach and model good habits in the home, celebrate each accomplishment. No, you don't have to have a party with cake and ice cream, but make it a big deal when your son or daughter finally brushes his/her teeth on their own, makes their bed without you asking them to, helps with the dishes after supper without your prompting...these are things to mention and applaud.
2) Celebrate the special dates...birthdays, graduations, dates that really mean something like "life" events...involving the entire family. Make a special supper, go out to eat together at a favorite restaurant, go on a unique outing...these are times to bind together and celebrate!
3) Celebrate with God. Give a "shout-out" to the Lord for His workings in the life of your family! Pray boldly and audaciously, without doubt. Max Lucado writes that the Lord never tires of hearing a parent plead and pray for the needs of our children. Also, be ready at all times to offer praise for what the Lord has done in the lives of your children and in your family. Consult God in everything and call on Him for great things! Then, when He answers, celebrate and give thanks, with great joy!
"Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Walk with joy and expectancy, for it is a journey!
Here's to that journey..."shout it out"!
March 17, 2016
"It Begins in the Home"
So, what's the condition of your home today? Is it a condition of love, rest and peace? Is it a place of forgiveness? Or, is it full of anger and resentment? Is it a haven where your family can share their feelings and really be "at home"? Is the Lord "welcome" in your home?
Over the past few weeks, as I began thinking about these questions, I realized that there are many homes that only exist to supply food, shelter and a bed to lay one's head. Our world has entered our homes in such a way that either computers or televisions "rule the roost" and communication between human beings has been lost. Time restraints have taken over our lives in such a way that parents and children do not communicate, and husbands and wives do not either.
Our world has become a place that is really just pretty mean and human beings don't mind attacking one another over and over. Our children have learned to bully one another to the point of children and teens committing suicide. Caring for others has become a thing of the past in many situations. We have become insensitive even to the feelings of family members.
God called me to work with children when I was eighteen years old and it has always been serious business to me. Thus, the epidemic of bullying has really gotten my attention...to the point of me asking "why" and "how"? Why would any child bully another one? How did children learn that this is ok? Why would a child even think it's ok to do so? The definition of bullying is "to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone; typically to force him or her to do what one wants; unwanted, aggressive behavior; an imbalance of power."
For Christian parents, it should be an easy fix or really you should prevent it...because it does "begin in the home". First of all, we must model loving, respectful behavior before our children. If there are arguments between spouses in the home, they should be done in private. When children see their parents attack one another, they quickly learn that it should be ok for them to treat their siblings and peers this way.
We must show our children and the world that we are followers of Christ and model His Word. "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34)
We must get along with one another. It is alright to have different opinions about topics and views. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)
Teach respect in the home...really care about others in the home. Teach and model unselfishness and forgiveness. Share and celebrate with your children.
Love the Lord first and foremost and share that with your children. "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Teach your children to stand up for themselves...respectfully toward others, as God has created him/her with special gifts and abilities...each one has been created specially by God, the Creator.
When I think of a Godly home, these words in Proverbs 24 say it well..."By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Your children and my children will or will not make a difference in this world today...it all begins in the home.
Here's to the journey...let it begin...in your home!
January 14, 2016
"Unlocking the Treasure"
Last week, when we went to Chapel, I talked to the children about their gifts and talents, and how special they are to God, their Creator. We talked about how God has a special gift and talent for each of His children and we should thank Him for those gifts. It is in knowing our gifts and talents that we learn to serve the Lord better and with more effectiveness. As parents of young children, you should always be consciously watching your children to see where they are gifted and within what areas of life their gift might lie. Many times, a child's gift will begin to show up at an early age. By the time I was three-years-old, my gift of music had begun to manifest itself in my life. My mother took note and made sure that by the time I was five, I had begun taking private piano lessons. The Lord led her to recognize that gift in my life. These treasures within a child may certainly begin to "unfold" before your eyes if you ask the Lord to show them to you.
When my children were at a young age, I began to pray and ask the Lord to help me "unlock" the treasures in their lives...those treasures that He implanted when He created them. Really, parents, it is our responsibility to take note of the characteristics in our children that lead them to do certain things...those traits that will lead them to find where they are gifted. As you "unlock" these treasures, you will begin to see strengths in your children that will help you know where they need training and the areas where they will succeed.
I also wanted to know that God was using me to help "unlock" the spiritual treasures in the lives of my children. God's Word is full of wisdom and I knew that my children must know the Word of God in order to live their lives accordingly. I, too, had to learn to trust God's Word to show me how to parent them in this very important area of life.
"My son, if you accept My words and store up My commandments within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure. then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:1-6)
There will be times, as you parent your children, that you may wonder about certain issues in your child's life, especially as they grow older and gain more independence. You will have times when you just can't find the answer to that gnawing ache in your heart or question you can't answer. The only One you can trust to help you may be the Lord, at those times. The darkness in your child's life may be overwhelming. He will see you through and as you pray, you will gain a deep abiding trust that your child is in His hands.
"This is what the Lord says, 'I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.'" (Isaiah 45:3)
Once your child receives Christ as their Savior and Lord, and begins that journey of faith, you will see just how beautiful it is for him/her to shine the jewels of his heart...those treasures will begin to come forth and build into your child's life so that he/she can truly become that man or woman God created. I believe it is the treasures of our hearts that truly shape the gifts and talents God implanted in our lives. For, without a love for the Lord and a knowledge of His Word, how can any of us truly survive?
Here's to the journey...let those treasures shine!