What kind of Father is God?

Today, families come in all types. As a teacher, I have “seen it all,” I suppose. One of the really sad things about families these days, is their non-permanent nature. When someone in the family is tired of dealing with the problems and issues all families have, they leave – leaving a gaping hole that the kids are supposed to just accept and adapt to.

This is not what God intended for His children, and teaching kids about God as our Father is important when raising kids and “bringing Jesus home.”

God describes Himself over and over again as “Father,” or “our Father.” He also calls us, “His children.”  In Isaiah 64:8 Scripture says: “But now, O Lord, you are our Father,”; Jeremiah 3:19 states, “You shall call Me, My Father, and not turn away from following Me.” And just one more here: Luke 11:13 states, “If you then, being evil, [sinful] know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give… to those who ask Him?” (Look for more verse references at the bottom).

God states in His word that He will never leave us. He will not use our sins and weaknesses against us, as a reason to leave us. He will not separate Himself from us for any reason. Satan has a nasty way of making us feel like we don’t deserve His love, and we often don’t pray about our sin and problems, when the first thing we should do, and God wants us to do, is talk to Him.

God is LOVE. He loves us purely and completely. Through Jesus, we are His “kids,” no matter how old we are. Our kids, and we as well, need to know we have a Savior we can trust completely. One who loves us and wants the best for us. One who will stand by us no matter what happens in our earthly family. Because He is our Father, and we are His children.

John 20:17; Romans 15:6; Matthew 6:9; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26;  1John 2:13; John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14

Do you know the gift God gave?

How can you know a gift? Well, Jesus Christ was sent as a gift to us over 2000 years ago. God could have sent Jesus down in glorious fashion; in crown, robe and jewels, already grown, and looking like we think God “should” look.  He could have used power He already possessed to be what we think of as a “superhero”.

Instead He chose to come to Earth as humans do, through childbirth. He chose to go through life and experience it as a human, though He was and is also God. He chose the lowest of rank, the shepherds, to announce His birth to first. He chose to sacrifice Himself, knowing that our sinfulness required the perfect sacrifice and only He could fulfill that requirement, because He never sinned, and was perfect. He chose to die for us, people that weren’t even born yet, because our sin separated us from Him, and would make it impossible to live with Him in Heaven, which is the ultimate “perfect place”.

Jesus followed through on all the things He chose to do. He did die, but was raised again on the third day after His death. How do we know this for sure? Well, the Bible states that over 500 people witnessed Him alive after they saw Him hang on the cross. Also, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, Jesus will reveal Himself to you in a way that only Christians can experience, through the Holy Spirit who Jesus sends to live within you forever.

Jesus Christ loves you like crazy. How do I know this? Because I have witnessed His love for me, and know without a shadow of doubt that He exists, and is who He says He is. In this wacky world, all of us need this Savior. He makes sense in a world that doesn’t make sense. He brings peace to your heart, and comfort to your mind.

Ask Jesus to come into your heart, forgive your sins, and help you understand who He is. I promise your life will never be the same, if you do with all sincerity.

Email me, and let me know if you asked Jesus to come into your heart, and we can discuss your relationship with Him further.   God Bless you!

Luke 1:35, John 1:14, Matthew 2:10-11, Romans 8:32, I John 4: 15-16, 18. (Just a few verses about this)

jeldred1955@gmail.com

 

Have your kids read the story?

I think the Christmas story is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. Have you and your kids actually read it together out of the Bible?

How about reading it together on Christmas Eve? If your kids are very young, you and/or your spouse can read it to them. If they are older, divide up the verses, have your kids practice reading it out loud before you read it as a family, then make time before bed to read it together. Anyway you do it, you are refocusing everyone back to the real meaning of Christmas.

Luke 2:4-14 (NIV)

4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Also: Look at Matthew 1: 18-25; Luke 1: 26-38; Luke 2: 1-7, 8-14, 15-20; Matthew 2: 1-12; Luke 2: 21-33

God Bless you and your family, and have a wonderful Christmas.    Jan

Do you have a technology addicted child? Part 2

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Going back to the story about J from my last post (Dec. 13th)…

When J’s Junior year began, his attendance was very spotty. This was one of his problems in the 9th grade, so I automatically started wondering what was going on with him. When I would ask the kids he hung around with where he was, or if they knew why he wasn’t at school, they would reply that they “didn’t know,” and that “all he does is play computer games.”

J’s grades dropped back to D’s and F’s because, even though when he was at school he did his work, he had way too many absences to pass his classes.

When school staff met with J and his mom, we found out that about the only thing J did at home was play games on his computer. When I reminded him about all the work he did the previous year to get his grades up so he could get a diploma, he just mumbled, “Yeah, I know.” I asked him directly if he still wanted a diploma and he basicly said, “I don’t care.” His future came down to a choice between using technology 24/7, and school, and technology won.

Teachers tried very hard to keep J motivated to work hard and stay in school, but it was far easier for him to stay home and be on his computer all day. We tried to encourage and support mom to help J, but J pretty much dropped himself out of high school around the end of April of his Junior year.

J should be a Senior this year. If he went (or goes) back, he will have classes to make up, but will still be able to get a Diploma, if he decides he wants to.

This can happen in Christian, and non-Christian homes. Know what your kids are doing on their electronics. Give them a strict time limit! Experts on kids and technology use say no more than 2 hours a day for teens.

Pray for your kids. Be involved with them. Read my blog from November 7th for more suggestions. Help your kids NOT fall into this trap!!

What would you do, if you had a technology addicted child?

You may have noticed that I have posted three times about electronics. There is a reason for that. In the news this week we again heard about how teens can become depressed and anxious when they are on electronics and social media too much. But did you know they truly can become addicted? I have personal experience working with a student who, for all I know, is still playing video games on his computer, after having dropped himself out of high school so he could stay home and be on his electronics all day. (No, I’m not kidding).

As a teacher of kids with learning disabilities, I have a certain number of students that I advocate for while they are in high school. One student, “J”, I had advocated for since he was in 9th grade, and I asked for his mom’s permission to retest him, because he was either failing, or nearly failing most of his classes, and I wanted to determine if he was in the right Special Education program.

I was extremely surprised, to say the least, that J was actually much more capable than I thought he was. He simply lacked the motivation to successfully do the work. When I told him that the purpose was to determine if his program had to be changed, and that that meant he would be working toward a Certificate of Completion, instead of a Diploma, his whole attitude changed.

From almost all D’s and F’s, J started working like crazy to raise his grades, stating he wanted a Diploma, not a Certificate of Completion. By the end of that year, he had all A’s, B’s or C’s.

Sounds like a great success story, right? Well…during the summer between when all the above happened and his 11th grade year, J played computer games. A lot. When his mom would try to get him off the computer, he became belligerent toward her, (she is a single mom),  and Mom began to fear for her safety, so she stopped trying to get him off the electronics.

This is the end of Part I of this post. As a parent/grandparent, what would you do, at this point, if this was your child?  Talk to your kids about what they are doing on their electronics, and how much is too much. Email me back, please, with what they say!

Do you and your kids pray together?

Kids love it when they can bring a friend home to play after school or on the weekend, right? Even if they can’t bring their friend home, they will talk about what they did during the day with that friend.

One of the easiest ways to bring Jesus home is to pray, both by yourself, and with your kids. Depending on their age, this might be a prayer for their toys. Don’t worry about the content, when they are young it is just a matter of getting them to talk to Jesus, and get a sense of Jesus being available to them.

As they get older, encourage kids to pray for family, and to include praying for friends.

In his book of Ephesians, Paul has a lot to say about prayer, how to do it, as well as how God will bless you through it. In Ephesians 1: 15-19, Paul tells his readers that he prays for wisdom for them, and that they would know the “hope to which He has called you.” I believe this applies to us today, as well. I hope you will read the entire book.

When should you pray? Praying with kids seems to fit into two times…at meals and bedtime, but don’t use that as the only times to pray!

Where should you pray? In the bedroom, at the kitchen table, anywhere that feels comfortable for both you and your kids/grandkids. Develop a habit of praying in the same locations, to help you remember to pray.

Christmas time is an especially sweet time to get into the habit of praying. If kids are being brought up in the church, they know how Christmas is special, and being able to pray with them at home about Jesus and his sacrificial life on Earth is another way to refocus kids toward Jesus as the real meaning of the holiday.

Ephesians 1: 17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

Does your family eat dinner together?

Maybe a better question would be, “Does your family ever eat dinner together?” Please don’t see this question as a “put-down”. I think it is a sign of our times. Families almost have to put a date on the calendar in order to be in the same place at the same time!

The point is, this time of the day is a wonderful opportunity to bring Jesus home. It is a fantastic chance to help our kids decompress from the pressures of the day, get off their electronics, and talk face to face. Remember, one of the points made on studies about kids and electronics’ use, is that the less “face time” they have with others, the more anxious and depressed kids can be.

But dinner together every night is difficult, if not impossible. This week one evening my daughter and son-in-law had kids at “Grinch…” practice, soccer practice and gymnastics class at the same time, and they didn’t end until 7:00 PM! Clearly, this is not going to be a family dinner night. But every night is not like this. Family dinners almost certainly have to be planned in advance, put on the calendar, and followed through like an appointment, if your family’s schedule is ‘crazy’ busy.

Make these meals special, a time of no electronics, TV or outside influence. Maybe even pre-plan what you as parents/grandparents would like to discuss at this time. And remember, if you have teens and they aren’t used to discussing things with you, this could be more difficult for them. Start discussions by doing devotions first, this can open the door to deeper discussions. Then pray together, no matter what age your kids are.

Joshua 24:15, “…as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Psalms 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

Are you struggling with too much Christmas-time “stuff”?

If you are a parent, or even an active grandparent, Christmas is a wonderful, beautiful, frustrating, overscheduled time of the year!

For many parents, it means an already busy schedule has at least several dozen more events and activities added to it, which can lead to even more stress in a season that is supposed to be filled with joy and goodwill.

Before we get further into the season, sit back for a minute and think about what Christmas is really all about.  Our Heavenly Father, loved us enough to send Jesus to be born as a human, die, and rise again, so we could have a relationship with Him. As a Christian, we have a fabulous opportunity to “Cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). God knows what we are going through, He knows our schedule, plans, what we would like to get done and have to get done, etc.

Having said that, I believe He is saddened by our lack of trust in Him, especially when we have a heavy load we are trying to bear on our own.

First, ask God to prioritize your days. Take your completed calendar, and give each day to the Lord. Give Him your trust and see what He does with your plans, and your calendar.

I am a subscriber to Joanne Ellison’s blog entitled “Drawing Near to God.” In her recent post, “Time Management,” (Dec. 4, 2017), she spoke of an experiment she tried with her busy schedule. She decided to give each day to the Lord, after having planned her days previously. She left already planned events that were cancelled, on her calendar, as well as adding in new ones that God planned. She stated that in giving her calendar to God she could see – over and over again – a pattern of things she had not anticipated. She could see the hand of God in what she had done, opportunities she would have missed, and extra time she did not plan to have.  (http://joanneellison.com/time-management/)

Remember, this can be an extraordinary time for kids to grow in their relationship to Jesus Christ.  Make “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” your family’s real life. When Jesus becomes the focus, it’s amazing how much stress goes away.

Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we (I) will rejoice and be glad in it.”

 

Did Jesus give His parents an “attitude”?

Jesus stated that He was the Son of Man, and also that He was the Son of God. While on the Earth, He remained 100% sinless. We know very little about His childhood, yet I have always wondered what Jesus was like, as a child who never did anything wrong.

In particular, Jesus’ response to His mom when He was 12 years old and His family had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover. When Mary and Joseph left to return home, they believed Jesus to be traveling with relatives, but had to turn back when they realized this wasn’t the case. When they found Him in the temple, discussing scripture with the teachers, Mary asked Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Instead of apologizing, as most parents today would expect, He replied, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Read Luke 2:41-50).

Was Jesus giving His mom an “attitude”? To me, Jesus’ statement has always come across as rude and disrespectful, but was it really?

According to Jewish custom of Jesus’ day, being “seen and not heard” was not considered a good attribute for a child, and children were also taught to “think for themselves” (Hodson.org). Even though His words sound rude and disrespectful according to our American culture, Jesus’ words were considered acceptable to His parents. (ucg.org). Luke 2:51 follows up saying Jesus was “obedient” to them.

Does that mean it’s ok for our kids to speak the same way Jesus did? Well, in the sense that Jesus never disrespected His parents – the answer is Yes! That doesn’t mean it’s ok to be disrespectful when answering parents, it does mean to “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), and to answer in a way the Bible and you as parents/grandparents consider respectful.

Once again, this verse popped into my head…”Teach your children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.”         Proverbs 22:6