Balance

Life, to say the least,  can be “challenging.” There is work, household duties, church activities, children’s sports, parenting; you almost need to be a  juggler to keep all the plates in the air.  Stress is a common household reality. Stress comes when life becomes unbalanced. When you give too much attention to one area; another area suffers. 

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One area that is extremely difficult to balance is the disciplining of our children. Too much discipline and the child may become rebellious. [Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them….] Ephesians 6:4  Too little discipline and the child will grow with no respect for authority.  [If a child is corrected, they become wise. But a child who is not corrected brings shame to their mother.]  Proverbs 29:15  So the key to successful discipline is a balance.   Two biblical examples: 

1. No parental discipline. Often parents want peace in the home so bad, they refused to confront bad conduct. “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time…” 1 Kings 1:6 David was a man of God but he allowed his son to do whatever he wanted to do. Result? His son, Adonijah, rebelled against his father and took control of Israel. (I might add, David did nothing to stop him.) 

I have often seen parents run to “recuse” a child from the consequences of their actions. I know it is only natural to want to protect our children from harm and unpleasantness. I knew a mother that was continually bailing her two sons out of jail. When her money ran out, she begged family members for money to bail them out but it never changed their behavior. When she could no longer “rescue” they went to prison, where gave their lives to Christ.   In Luke 15 we have the parable of the lost son. The boy wanted his inheritance so he could go and do whatever he wanted. The father never attempted to stop him leaving, that would only make the problem worse.  It was only after the son hit “bottom”, he saw the folly of his lifestyle, repented and returned home. Luke 15:17-18   

I am not saying that we should NEVER go the aid of our children, there are times when showing Christ’s love and forgiveness will turn the child around. In fact, Jesus said to GO and search for the lost sheep and rescue them!  Luke 15:4-7

So how is a parent supposed to know whether to rescue their child or allow them to experience the school of hard knocks? Good question! 

Good question! If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you James 1:5  TLB

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth… John 16:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

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God’s Plan

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I am sure that most parents wonder what the future holds for their new child. As a Christ-follower, I believe God has a wonderful plan for every person born. That plan was established before we are born. “Before I shaped you in the womb, I [God] knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you:…” Jeremiah 1:5

In 1969 my wife and I stood at the church altar to dedicate our infant son to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those who maybe unfamiliar with this ceremony; allow me to explain. A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s ways. (See Luke 2:22)

We watched as God took our  son and called him to be a pastor. This past Sunday I had the privilege to stand at the church altar and pray for my son as he prepares to go to Guatemala on a Work and Witness missions trip. We never imagined God giving our son the honor of taking the Gospel message to people in another part of the world!

My wife and I would appreciate you praying for our son and the team as they depart tomorrow. Below is a picture of our son [on the right] with a team member from his church.

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Are You Adopted?

“I have had the privilege of knowing several couples who have adopted children into their family. One couple had adopted several children from Russia. The children were brothers and sisters and the couple did not want them to be separated.

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When a couple goes through the adoption process, their desire is to become parents, to offer a home and a family to a child that has neither. When the adoption process is complete, that child legally becomes a son or daughter.

Think about the spiritual analogies. In adoption, there is a high cost to the parents and no cost to the child. [The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. ] As a Christ-follower, we are heirs to Christ’s Kingdom. We become legal, official children of God. Adoption comes at an enormous cost to the parents.

What does it cost the child? Nothing! It required the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Adoption came at a grace cost to the Father.We are adopted by God for the same reason that any parent adopts – out of seer love. In His great love, He plans adoption, pays the cost,  becomes our Father and unites us to a whole family of brothers and sisters.

On A Personal Note

Image result for Bittersweet MomentLife is filled with ups and downs. A loved one passes away while another gives birth. The young college grad launches a new career; while another worker with 20+ years experience is laid off. Ebb and flow.

This weekend is one of those bitter/sweet moments of life. On the “bitter” side, our neighbors and good friends have sold their house and are moving to their retirement home in the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I are going to miss Jack and Celeste greatly. Sad to see them go but we are glad that they are starting a new chapter in their book of life.

On the “sweet” side; the couple who bought our neighbor’s house is my brother and his wife! This is definitely a God “thing! They are retiring from the ministry and are moving to South Carolina. It will be great to have them next door!

This is one of life’s surprises that we never could imagine.

 

Family Functions

While reading articles on the web; I could not help but notice the repeated theme about how families can handle the stress of family get-togethers. Why are family functions some of the sweetest times of our holiday, but also some of our most stressful? Well, every family has problems, tensions, and dysfunctions, and those don’t take holiday breaks. It requires a lot of energy to care for a crowd, no matter how much we love them. Even the godly Martha became overwrought when Jesus brought His disciples for supper.

Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40

Here are two suggestions to keep you from being swept away by the stress of family:  

First, don’t be afraid to establish healthy boundaries. Give yourself permission to duck out of the room, escape the mob, and let them fend for themselves. If we’re the ones dropping in on others, sometimes it’s best to get a hotel room rather than crash in the spare room.

Second, make sure you don’t skimp on your devotional time with Christ. Martha needed to take a lesson from Mary’s book and sit at Jesus’ feet a while—and so do you. We love others best by loving Him more.

 

 

Seek God

Reposted from Craig & Amy Groeschel’s From This Day Forward

Modern culture tells us we should look for that perfect person: “the one.” If we just find and marry “the one,” everything afterwards is wedded bliss, right? That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation to place on someone. Just think: would you want to be “the one” to bear that responsibility? Then why force those expectations on someone else?

God is the One who completes you. He created you to love Him with your whole heart and to put Him above all else. God is your One. Your spouse is your two. And when the two of you commit to seek God together, you can build a marriage—together—on a firm foundation that will stand the test of time.

What’s something you could ask God to do in you that would make you a better partner to your spouse? Become the kind of person you would want to be married to. Seek the One with your two. Begin by committing to pray together every day, even if it’s through a text message, over the phone, or silently.

What Did You Say?

People from other countries say that the English language  is very difficult to understand.  For example: ” don’t make waves around the office.”  Meaning – do not cause trouble . You are completely nuts if you think I will go with you. Meaning – You are crazy. Working on a computer for me is a piece of cake. Meaning – Easy to do. There is even a “language” for different sub-cultures. Teens use words that only other teens know what they are saying.  Your occupation may use words that  only people in your profession understand. listening

You have probably heard the expression , “I know what I said but I’m not sure  what you heard.”   Many personal relationships are strained because of what someone said vs. what someone understood.  James  wrote theses words, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”​ James 1:19   

It is vital that husbands understand their wives. “Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding…  so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.”  “Understanding” speaks of being sensitive to your wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. In other words, be thoughtful and respectful. Unfortunately, most husbands do not take the time nor energy to understand their wives.

Remember, God gave you two ears but only one mouth.