Are your kids learning integrity?

Do you expect to be able to trust your kids? If you are a normal parent/grandparent, the answer should be an emphatic “YES!” But, how often do you talk to them about responsibility and integrity?

If you have older kids, ask them what these words mean. Do they understand what responsibility and integrity mean? Ask them for examples of these traits in action.

As Christian parents/grandparents, we should be all about integrity. We aren’t perfect, and make silly, (and sometimes not very silly) mistakes, but our kids should be able to see and hear us apologize and take responsibility for our action, or lack of action. Proverbs 20:7 states (NKJV): The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.

We must be the role models for teaching responsibility, so our kids can learn the (Christian) values that we say we believe in. Many of their school teachers take the time to try to teach responsibility and values, but they won’t learn them from their friends.

Proverbs 12:22 states: Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. II Corinthians 8:21 says it this way: For we aim (to do) what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.

The problem is that in today’s world, being “bad” is good, and being “good” is bad. How do we counter that nonsense? The best way that I can think of, is to: First, live what we are trying to teach our kids. If we “cheat a little” or “lie a little” we are just as bad as anyone who cheats and lies a lot. Next, talk to your kids from the time they are little, about being a person with integrity. I believe that all people, even those with very little integrity, admire someone that they know has integrity. Also, read verses from the Bible (there are many more than I have put here) that reinforce what you are trying to teach. Kids need to know that you are trying to follow God’s word, you aren’t just coming up with rules on your own!!

Check out these verses as well:   

2 Timothy 2:15,     Colossians 3:9,      Ephesians 4:25,      James 1:26,      Luke 6:31

 

 

What can we do together this week?

Here we are at the second week of activities for your family. It is short and sweet, and doesn’t have to be what you actually do, but is a list of suggestions if you need them.

Mind: Electronics Challenge:  

  • Challenge your family to limit or completely stop using social media for one week.
  • If you would rather, pick something you and your kids do everyday to limit or stop, such as; playing computer games, looking at Facebook, etc.
  • If you have a hard time with “completely” stopping, limit time to maybe 2 hours a day or less.

Body:  Work out challenge:

  • Set a challenge for your family to work out at least 4-5 times this week
  • Can be something simple, such as dancing to your favorite music
    • Very young kids love dancing!
  • Walking or swimming are other great ways to exercise during the summer
  • Whatever it is, do it for at least 20-25 minutes each time, unless you are very out of shape or have a health condition, then check with your doctor first, and follow his/her advise.

Soul:  Prayer journal:

  • Start a prayer journal your entire family can contribute to
  • It can be just printer or notebook paper, if need be
  • Encourage each person to add one or two things or people they want to pray for
  • Use the list to pray several times during the week and beyond
  • Pay attention and mark on the journal when you or they see answers to their prayer requests

PLEASE, make time during the summer to spend quality time with your kids/grandkids. I can almost guarantee they will remember it.

What does it mean to “be angry, and do not sin?”

Parents/grandparents, this is primarily for you today.   I use Facebook as a means of spreading my blog posts and connecting to more people. Because of that, I am on Facebook a few times a week. Everytime I look to see what my friends and family are up to, I inevitably have to pass posts that are ranting about how good or bad Trump is, and/or, how good/bad past Presidents have been. I realize this does not seem like the Christ centered topics that I usually talk about, but most of the people I get these “rants” from, are Christians!

It is time for Christians to wake up, and see what they are doing from a Christian perspective. It is ok to be angry with the way things are going in our government, it is not ok to sin while you are angry.  Believe it or not, God is STILL in control, not any one person. In Ephesians 4:26-27 it states, “Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

Well, how can you tell someone they are an “idiot” for liking/not liking a certain leader?!!    Bottom line…you can’t!   They have just as much right to like someone, as you do NOT to like the same person.  I, too, have strong feelings about our government leaders right now. But the Holy Spirit convicted me to see this from His perspective.  We are sitting in JUDGMENT of someone, by ranting about them, or “sharing” someone else’s rant!

What the Holy Spirit told me to do, instead, is to start adding comments that suggest the person sending the post think about their Christian walk, keeping things in perspective, praying for change if that is what they want, praying for our leaders (always!), and putting Bible verses into the comment section. Believe it or not, thinking and praying about how I should comment deflates any frustration I feel about these posts coming from Christians!

Also, this “ranting” makes Satan very happy, because it takes our minds off of Jesus. I was part of the problem, and I don’t want to be a part of the problem anymore.

Matthew 7:1-4a,  Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

The world isn’t THAT bad, is it?

I have a difficult time when someone tells me they are a strong Christian, but just don’t go to church. If Christ says we need to “assemble together,” we need to be in church!

I recently read Day 173: Evening, of my Sonrise Daily Devotional Bible, written by our founding Pastor, Tony Foglio, Sr. It touched my heart, so I thought I would share it with you.

“Once a week is not enough. A one hour worship service is not a good balance between the onslaught of the world and the teaching and preaching of the gospel. Compare the number of hours spent watching television (or being on electronics) with the combined time spent in fellowship, worship, praying, Bible study, and service. Unfortunately, statistics say that TV (and electronics) win. I am not advocating a boycott of television; I am, however, advocating that a greater amount of time be given to that which brings eternal dividends. May I encourage you to not only attend a weekly worship service, but also a Sunday school class, a mid-week prayer service, and a small group fellowship. These combined equate to no more than the amount of television (or electronics) many folks watch in one day. I can promise that your life will be richer for it. Will it be easy? No, it will at first take a fair amount of discipline.There will have to be some priority changes. It will require some sacrifice. However, the fruit that will be produced will be more than worthwhile.”   (Parentheses are mine.)

Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime!!

For Summer, I am going to change things up a bit. Instead of just telling you about how to bring Jesus home, I am going to give you specific things you can do each week for your mind, body, and soul. Summer is the best time to begin doing something new with your family, because the kids are at home, and there tends to be more free time in the day. I will give activities. You can choose to do some or all of them, but I am focused on three areas;  mind, body, and soul. Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself just for our eternity in Heaven, but for our life on Earth, as well. So I will be focused on physical and mental activities, as well as spiritual ones.

(Mind) Game: Big Word: “educational”

Directions:

  • Use the letters in the word “educational.”
  • Using pencils and paper, have the family make and write down as many words using only those letters (no extras) as possible.
  • For older kids and adults, don’t tell them the big word, just mix up the letters from the word, and see if they can guess the big word.
  • For younger kids in elementary school, allow short or one letter words.
  • For older kids, tell them they can have no less than 3 letter words.

(Mind) Discussion: This is a question to discuss with your kids/grandkids that should interest them. If it doesn’t, you may want to come up with an alternate question.

Younger kids: What is your favorite kind of bug? Why? If you don’t like bugs, why not?  Did God make bugs? Why do you think He did that?

Older kids: What bothers you the most about your school?  How can you help to make it better?

(Body) Exercise: Take a walk around the block. Look at the colors of the houses/apartments you pass. What colors are mostly used for apartments and houses? How many are white, tan, blue, etc. Is your house or apartment painted the most popular color? (You may want to take a pencil and paper to keep track?!)

(Soul) Discussion: What is your favorite Bible verse? If you aren’t sure or don’t have one, Google, “most popular Bible verses.” Discuss why these might be the most requested verses on Google. (Also, look at www.biblestudytools.com and look at “The 25 Most Read Bible Verses.”)

Ways to Bring Jesus Home (Compilation)

Ways to Bring Jesus Home   

 Bringingjesushome.com

(This post is a combination of the previous three posts. It is intended for those who might want to print it out and keep it. Right click to print)

This compilation of information from my blog, “Bringing Jesus Home (from Church),” is in no way complete. The information I am sharing is from my Biblical studies, and years of involvement in church and school, working with kids. I have a passion for raising this next generation with a love of Christ in their hearts, and the reality I see is our churches dying, because the younger generation no longer sees the need for Jesus Christ in their lives. My heart’s prayer is that you will prayerfully consider the information presented and have God guide you, in how you use it.

(There are a lot of suggestions here. Don’t think you have to add or change as much as possible!! Find ONE thing you want to add or change, and make only one change at a time.)  God bless you!

A. With your family…

Make sure your kids are Christian.

  1. I know this seems silly, but many kids believe that people are born into whatever religion their parents are.
  2. Help your kids realize that being a Christian means having a relationship with Jesus, and that it is much more than just a “religion”.
  3. If your child is not sure, or you are not sure they have accepted Jesus into their heart as their Savior, share the gospel with them, and ask them if they want to ask Jesus into their heart.

Trust your kids into God’s hands.

  1. Let Him control what you do and say to them about Him.
  2. Believe that God will have a hand in how you raise them, if you want Him to.

Pray, pray, pray!

  1. Discuss with your kids on when during the day you should pray, both as a family, and individually.
  2. Share with them the things you are praying about (unless it shouldn’t be shared, of course).
  3. Create a prayer journal, and review it to show your kids how Jesus has answered their prayers.  (Remember, “wait” and “no” are also answers to prayer!)
  4. Encourage your kids to pray for the Holy Spirit to take away their desire to get mad, or get even with other kids, and also, to take away temptations to gossip, and complain.
  5. Have your kids hold you accountable to pray everyday, as you hold them accountable as well.

Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith 

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
  2. Find a time that works, and stick with it!                                                                      (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  3. Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  4. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  5. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  6. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc                                          A.  (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  7. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  8. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!                                                                                                                      A. Play board games as a family.                                                                                    B. Have a family night out and do something together.                                              C. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.                      D. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
  9. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.       A. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
  10. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.         A. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
  11. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.

B. For parents/grandparents:

For the last segment of my compilation, I have separated out the things I think parents/grandparents need to do for themselves. I know you know that raising kids is a full time job…which, if you already have a full time job outside the home, means that you have two full time jobs!  Whew!! Even though we have the “head knowledge” of having many jobs, we rarely treat ourselves as if we did. In other words, we are like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps going, and going, and going.

As I started to write this, with the above information in mind, my next thought was that parents don’t need more things to do in their day. I get it! Really! But, I think the time that you do have can be used differently, and still not add “things” to your day. For example, prayer. To increase your prayer time, pray before meals. Pray when you are having “cuddle time” with your child, pray after devotions. It takes time to change habits, but if you decide you want to pray with your kids, write yourself notes, or put the activity on your planner until it becomes habit.

To me, the best things you can do for yourself, are pray, and read your Bible.  In the online article “Prayer 101: How Do I Talk to God?,” it states that prayer is talking with God, and it helps us develop a deeper relationship to Him. We need prayer, because we need to talk to God about what is going on in our hearts and lives. In Hebrews 4:16 it says we can, “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (https://billygraham.org). And, we need to know what God wants us to do, in terms of raising our kids. Not praying could be compared to not talking to your very best friend, or spouse, when you really need to talk to them. Would you do that? God loves hearing from us, both good and bad things.

I don’t believe that we can raise Godly, Christian kids without prayer. We need to ask God to help us get through our jam-packed days, and still be able to reflect our relationship with Jesus to our kids. “With God ALL things are possible,”(Matthew 19:26b).  I believe it!

The second (and equally important) thing parents/grandparents should do, is read their Bible. It is hard to defend your faith, if you really don’t know what you believe. There are many “read the Bible in one year” devotionals, that can break down the Bible into doable parts. But you don’t have to read the entire Bible, if you don’t have time. Please choose a good devotional, one that touches your heart, and read the verses that are referenced for each day. Even a few verses a day will start you on the road to getting more familiar with God’s word.

One last thing I think is important is to have a Christian friend and/or spouse, who can walk with you down the road of raising Christian kids. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, share carpooling to church and activities, and even to vent to when things are difficult.

The job of raising Christian kids is tough, but ETERNALLY rewarding.

(Right click to print document)

 

Ways to “bring Jesus home,” Part 3

What should you do for yourself?

For the last segment of my compilation, I have separated out the things I think parents/grandparents need to do for themselves. I know you know that raising kids is a full time job…which, if you already have a full time job outside the home, means that you have two full time jobs!  Whew!! Even though we have the “head knowledge” of knowing we have many jobs, we rarely treat ourselves as if we did. In other words, we are like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps going, and going, and going.

As I started to write this, with the above information in mind, my next thought was that parents don’t need more things to do in their day. I get it! Really! But, I think the time that you do have can be used differently, and still not add “things” to your day. For example, prayer. To increase prayer time, pray before meals. Pray when you are having “cuddle time” with your child, pray after devotions. It takes time to change habits, but if you decide you want to pray with your kids, write yourself notes, or put the activity on your planner until it becomes habit.

To me, the two best things you can do for yourself, are pray, and read your Bible.  In the online article “Prayer 101: How Do I Talk to God?,” it states that prayer is talking with God, and it helps us develop a deeper relationship to Him. We need prayer, because we need to let God know what is going on in our hearts. In Hebrews 4:16 it says we can, “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (https://billygraham.org). And we need to know what God wants us to do, in terms of raising our kids. Not praying could be compared to not talking to your very best friend, or spouse, for no reason. Would you do that? God loves hearing from us, both good and bad things.

I don’t believe that we can raise Godly, Christian kids without prayer. We need to ask God to help us get through our jam-packed days, and still be able to reflect our relationship with Jesus to our kids. “With God ALL things are possible,”(Matthew 19:26b).  I believe it!

The second (and equally important) thing parents/grandparents should do, is read their Bible. It is hard to defend your faith, if you really don’t know what you believe. There are many “read the Bible in one year” devotionals, that can break down the Bible into doable parts. But you don’t have to read the entire Bible, if you don’t have time. Please choose a good devotional, one that touches your heart, and read the verses that are referenced for each day. Even a few verses a day will start you on the road to getting more familiar with God’s word.

One last thing I think is important is to have a Christian friend and/or spouse, who can walk with you down the road of raising Christian kids. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, share carpooling to church and activities, even vent to when things are difficult.

The job of raising Christian kids is tough, but ETERNALLY rewarding.

More ways to bring Jesus home? Part 2

This is a continuation of the list I posted last time. It is a compilation of ways to “bring Jesus home.” Next time, I will have a list focused on parents/grandparents.

D. Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
    1. Find a time that works, and stick with it! (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  2.  Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  3. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  4. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  5. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc.
    1. (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  6. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  7. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!
    1. Play board games as a family.
    2. Have a family night out and do something together.
    3. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.
    4. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
    5. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.
      1. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
    6. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.
      1. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
    7. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.

 

Do you know the ways to bring Jesus home?

Over the past seven months or so, I have been posting about things that parents might want to make a priority, when raising Christian kids. Last week I went over all the posts I have written so far, collected and prioritized these, in order to have one “document” that lists what I think God has given me as important things that help families incorporate Jesus into their everyday lives.

I am going to make this a downloadable document, so it can be printed out and won’t look like a blog post, but it doesn’t exist yet. I’ll let you know when it is available.

I have sub-divided this list into things to can do for yourself, and things to do with your family.

With your family…

A. Make sure your kids are Christian.

  1. I know this seems silly, but many kids believe that people are born into whatever religion their parents are.
  2. Help your kids realize that being a Christian means having a relationship with Jesus, and that it is much more than just a “religion”.
  3. If your child is not sure, or you are not sure they have accepting Jesus into their heart as their Savior, share the gospel with them, and ask them if they want to ask Jesus into their heart.

B. Trust your kids into God’s hands.

  1. Let Him control what you do and say to them about Him.
  2. Believe that God will have a hand in how you raise them, if you want Him to.

C. Pray, pray, pray!

  1. Discuss with your kids on when during the day you should pray, both as a family, and individually.
  2. Share with them the things you are praying about (unless it shouldn’t be shared, of course).
  3. Create a prayer journal, and review it to show your kids how Jesus has answered their prayers.
    1. (Remember, “wait” and “no” are also answers to prayer!)
  4. Encourage your kids to pray for the Holy Spirit to take away their desire to get mad, or get even with other kids, and also, to take away temptations to gossip, and complain.
  5. Have your kids hold you accountable to pray everyday, as you hold them accountable as well.