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)

Are you a teacher?

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One of the biggest reasons many parents don’t spend much time teaching their kids about Christ, or how to grow as a Christian, how to pray, etc., is they just don’t have the time. I totally understand. I see my adult kids trying to fit everything they need to do, both for themselves, and their kids, into their daily routine, and it is tough to get everything done.

But I think there is another way to achieve everything you need to do in a typical day, AS WELL AS spending time teaching your kids about Jesus, God, the Bible, praying, and so on.

The Bible tells us that time spent with and for God will be rewarded (blessed). Matthew 6:33 states: “But seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” By “all these things,” Matthew was talking about what you will eat, wear and drink. Your necessities will be taken care of when you put Jesus first. This includes having to go to work, wash the car, clean the house, and all the other “fun” (ha, ha) things parents have to do besides helping their kids grow as Christians.

Romans 8:28 states: “And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Again, God wants to bless you, when you put Him first.

It takes faith to make time to teach your kids about God. But He states in these and many other verses about both the importance and blessing He will give you if you do make Him your priority.

You may see you have more time in your day than you anticipated. You may get a break at work you weren’t expecting. You never know exactly how God will bless you, but He will, if you put Him first, and allow time to teach your children about Him.

Hebrews 11:6: Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

What is “faith?”

To you, what is faith? I think a lot of people struggle with what faith is, and how to have it. In the past, when a pastor would preach about faith, I felt like they presumed if they said I needed more faith, it would just happen.  In Luke 17:6  Jesus stated, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” I figured I must have the faith of an amoeba, because I honestly knew I wasn’t going to be moving any trees!

I asked two of my grandkids about faith. My 9 year old stated that “Faith is when you are brave, and you are sure you can do something.”  My 11 year old stated that it is “believing in someone or something, trust. When you have faith in God, you trust Him.”  I thought that was pretty good, but wanted to see what the dictionary said.  Dictionary.com defines (specifically regarding religion) faith as, “the trust in God and His promises as made though Christ and the scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.”

The google dictionary defines faith as: 1) Complete trust or confidence in something or someone, and 2) A strong belief in God… based on spiritual apprehension. (No one convinces you to believe, you believe of your own accord, or understanding).

Finally, the Bible, in Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is: The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Just knowing what faith is, doesn’t give you more faith. So what does give you more faith? Faith and trust are synonyms. You really can’t have one without the other (as far as I am concerned). What it amounts to, as far as I believe (you may disagree, that’s ok) is that faith begins with trust. Small babies learn to trust their mothers when they cry, and Mother responds. They develop faith in their mothers based on the fact that they can trust them.

Building faith in Jesus Christ can happen the same way. Faith is built on trust. The more you learn to trust that Jesus is who He says He is, and is there for you no matter what, the more you will trust Him. The more He comes through when you need Him, the more faith you will have that you can trust Him, no matter what. This doesn’t mean He will give you everything you want! Jesus is not a “Sugar Daddy.” But praying to see God’s will in all circumstances will help you see Him working in your life. And seeing Him work is definitely a faith builder.

Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please Him, (God), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

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.

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.

 

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.”