Why is it so hard to forgive?

When it comes to forgiving, we think with the heart of man instead of the heart of God. But what does the Bible say we are to do when we have been hurt (figuratively and/or physically)? Forgive 70 X 7, which means, every time.

My granddaughter is currently struggling with this issue. She was hurt by her best friend, and refuses to forgive her. Perhaps it has to do with being prideful, and not appearing weak, or appearing willing to “allow” the behavior that hurt her, I don’t know. But even though she and I have talked about what God says about forgiveness, she refuses to forgive her BF(F). The only thing I could share, after telling her what God expects, is that if God forgives us, we should be able to forgive each other, and for her to pray about the issue. I will check with her later to see if she has.

Matthew 18:21-22, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered,  “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times!” (Or, seventy times seven, depending on the Bible version.)

Do we have freedom of speech?

Yes, in this country, we have freedom of speech. But with freedom of speech comes responsibility. Some people might disagree, but we do not have absolute freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a God given right in this country, but there are people sharing made-up information on social media as though it was fact.  Even my Christian brothers and sisters are sharing it, and believing it.

Absolute freedom of speech destroys people, and ruins lives, because it maintains we can say anything we want to about anyone, especially if we don’t like them, or don’t agree with their views.

How is this Christian? We can not believe everything we see or read in social media! If information sounds silly, ridiculous, or even odd, it is probably a lie. If you aren’t sure if it is true or not – take the time to find out before you share it with others!

Jesus said we are to “Love one another” (John 13:34), and, “We love because He first loved us.” He did not say make sure our side wins. He is in control. In this crazy world, Christians need to be mindful that our job is to be ready to give a reason for the faith that we have,  not to share false information that makes one side sound better than the other.

I Peter 3:15, In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (Bolding mine)

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.

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.

 

Do you have the map?

It is normal for us to want to have control of our lives. The problem is, we don’t see or know the future. All we can do is make what we believe is the best choice for our family and ourselves, and hope and pray for the best outcome.

There is a better way, however. God knows our future. According to Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us, “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.”

The best way I have found to explain to kids, and even adults, about how God knows what is best for us, is to compare His plans for us to Him having a “map” of our lives. Now, I know God doesn’t need a map. But I love the picture it makes in my head of many different plans and goals, and ways to get there.

If you love Jesus Christ, and trust Him as Lord, think of Him holding a map of your life. He knows where you are, and where He wants you to go, as well as the best way to get there. He sees both the beginning and end of your life, as well as everything in-between. When we set goals and plan without God, it is a little like driving at night with the headlights off an an unfamiliar road. Very difficult! But when you give over control of your life to Him, He will take you the best way to get there, and chances are you will be less frustrated, and get to your destination sooner.

Let go, and let God…drive!

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Romans 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Matthew 19:26b, …With God all things are possible.

How many ways are there to get to Heaven?

Do all roads lead to Heaven? In today’s world, with political correctness being the norm, it is said that as long as you are spiritual, or have some sort of faith, you are fine. Does that mean Jesus was wrong? Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (goes to Heaven), except through Me.

Our kids get the politically correct information about being a good person all the time. Just ask their teachers. And a lot of their parents. If Jesus said He was the only way to Heaven, was He lying? Was He just another crazy cult leader? Or was He telling the truth? Ask your kids what they believe.

Jesus said, Unless you are born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.  Was He being a hater, racist, separatist, isolationist, or politically incorrect? Or was He right?

In our world today, many, many kids are growing up with little to no beliefs about Heaven. Most kids don’t go to church regularly. Their parents also have no particular beliefs about Heaven, or think it’s an issue they will deal with “when the time comes.” I believe that this is one very big reason kids go into their schools and shoot their peers. A child with no faith can be a child with no hope.

It is time that as a Christian parent, we make certain that our kids are firm in their beliefs, and can share that faith. Satan is on the prowl, and in today’s world our Christian kids are prone to do the same hateful things that non-Christian kids do, in terms of gossiping, backbiting against their peers, and living as though they didn’t know anything about Christ.

Christian kids should have a faith that is unshakable, because Jesus died and rose again to make it so. Do your kids have an unshakable faith? Do YOU? According to the web article: “Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity”, most Christian kids (63%) don’t believe Jesus is the son of the one true God.  http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Please don’t leave your kids’ faith to chance. Don’t expect them to figure it out for themselves, because they won’t.

John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 3:3, Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Is your child the “1 in 5”?

I pray your child is not the 1 in 5, but according to the news report this week, one in five kids in the U.S. is at risk of attempting suicide. What is going on here?! Why are our kids feeling so hopeless that they see no future for themselves, and see death as an acceptable alternative?

I know this is controversial, but I believe one of the biggest contributors to our kids’ hopelessness is that they are growing up today in a world without Jesus Christ; without hope; without any sense of purpose.

It has been proven through several studies that kids in Christian homes have a more stable view of life, and a sense of self-purpose. They are more ready to handle the tough events they encounter, and tend to be more grounded.

Is your child/grandchild one of these? As a Christian parent, are you consistently working on building up your child’s faith? If not, your child is one of those at risk, because they don’t see the point of being Christian.

PLEASE share this with your kids: Christianity is more than a belief, it is a relationship with Jesus Christ Himself, who loves you and died for you so you would be able to be in Heaven with Him. Not only to be in Heaven, but to live with you today, and help you get through the tough times in life.

Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.

Romans 5:8, But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 14:6, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 11:25, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

 

 

God did WHAT?

Unless they are in church or a Christian atmosphere, many Christians don’t know how to respond when they hear someone start talking about how God is working intimately in their life. I know, because I was one of those who felt awkward when a Christian would share an experience they had with Christ, in a secular atmosphere. Especially if we were in a group of people who were not Christians.

However, unless you decide to make Christ an intimate part of your everyday life, you are just living on the fringes of Christianity. And you and your family really are missing a lot of God’s blessings. What IS God doing in your everyday life? If you are tempted to say “nothing,” something is wrong with your relationship to Him.

Jesus loves us like crazy, and He really does want to “bless our socks off.” Don’t be afraid to tell people what God is doing in your life. Tell your kids/grandkids especially. They don’t just need to hear that God is real, they need to see Him working in your life.

Start a prayer journal with your kids, and record how God answers those prayers. It will amaze your kids, and probably you, as well.

TIME SPENT WITH CHRIST, IS TIME WELL SPENT.

Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Mark 16:15, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

I Peter 3:15, But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Do you need encouragement?

I know I could use some encouragement right now. The road to a loved one’s death can be very short, or very, very long. My dad is on the slow road. This is good, because he has been able to get things in order, and it won’t take any of the family off-guard. On the other hand, it is frustrating, because we can see him getting weaker, struggling more, and losing his ability to do things for himself.

I thought that I would just like to write out some Bible verses that are encouraging, no matter what is going on in you and your family’s lives.

Matthew 11:28-30, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.

Psalm 105:4, Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psalm 18:3, It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

2 Corinthians 12:9, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

Isaiah 40:31, But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Nehemiah 8:10, Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 145:18, The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.